Toxic air catastrophe triggers scrap metal revolution in China

Minerals producers have made fortunes over the last decade to slake China’s thirst for raw industrial metals. But in the future their profits could be hit by the Middle Kingdom recycling ever-greater quantities of its own ferrous scrap to meet industrial demand and, more importantly, cut dangerous pollution levels. It is an interesting time to be a scrap dealer in China. The market for recycled metal in the world’s second-largest economy is booming. Demand for steel scrap for smelting into new material in China surged by almost 40% in the first nine months of 2018 to around 150 million mt, according to the International Recycling Bureau’s latest figures. Stricter rules to reduce emissions, trade tariff wars on the import of waste metals from the US and the rise of China’s urbanised middle classes, who are now buying new white goods and throwing out old household appliances with greater frequency, have triggered a scrap metal revolution in the country. “Many believe scrap is the future,” said William Chin, senior vice-president and head of commodities at the Singapore Exchange (SGX), in an interview this week with S&P Global Platts. The exchange, which is a hub for iron ore trading in Asia, is… continue reading

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