Eco Update: China

A not so widely known fact is that China almost consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined, where it accounts for 80% of the countries source for energy. This is an alarming trend considering that the burning of this fossil fuel is one of the most polluting ways to generate electricity. In an economy where manufacturing and industry is on the rise this further adds to our concern.

Coal Mine

However, this may soon be about to change! Given the high levels of pollution in the country, particularly in industrial cities and around Beijing (where often daily particulate matter in the air can cause respiratory problems for even the healthy) people are sick of this issue and the government is listening.  A number of measures have been announced that should help to curb this trend; firstly the country has introduced bans on the building of new coal fired power plants and place limits on total energy consumption. These legislative measures will be complemented with an emissions trading scheme, due to be implemented by 2016, bringing the country up to speed with the developed economies of Europe and New Zealand.

There are signs that this move is working too, with coal imports at their lowest since 2012 despite prices being at their lowest since the peak of early 2011. This is complemented by banning of extremely low quality coal imports, particularly varieties containing high levels of sulfur and ash whose burning produces the highest levels of pollutants.

Air Pollution In Beijing

As a responsible and socially aware Metal supplying and manufacturing company based in China (with global offices) with heavy involvement in the metals and mining industries,Shanghai Metal Corporation (SMC) is proud to report on this news and welcomes developments in this area as it will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the quality of life of many everyday Chinese.

To find out more about our range of metal products or to discuss customization and individual requirements please visit our website Here. For more updates on this and other exciting developments follow us on FacebookTwitter & Linkedin. Or by using your smart device, scan the QR code below!


Dominick F.//SMC Editor

Adapted from: Frik Els. Images: National Geographic; Green Media;


Understand The U.S. Energy System By Energy Source

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal still accounts for the biggest single source of the nation’s power (39 percent), although natural gas has been increasing in importance, providing 27 percent of the US electricity.

coal ind2
Coal burning to generate electricity
Natural gas coming out of the ground, Taiwan.
Natural gas coming out of the ground, Taiwan.

Natural gas is rising in popularity in the electricity sector since it emits fewer pollutants (such as sulfur-dioxide) into the air, when compared to coal. In other words, natural gas is cleaner than coal. Also, natural gas plants tend to be smaller, easier to build. Prices, which used to fluctuate wildly, do not represent a concern for analysts anymore – many analysts are predicting that cheaper natural gas will be plentiful for decades.

Cheaper natural gas prices have also been pressuring some nuclear power plants to close down, although the Environmental Protection Agency has recently developed a set of climate rules as incentives to some states keep their nuclear reactors open for longer. The EPA initiative is grounded on the fact that nuclear reactors do not emit any heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Currently, 62 nuclear power plants can be found in operation, containing 100 reactors and providing 19 percent of the nation’s electricity, with 5 morereactors in construction in Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.

nuclear power
Nuclear power reactors

The rest of the energy source is represented by the renewable energy such as hydropower, wind power and solar. Hydropower accounts for the largest energy source, with 1,426 hydroelectric dams providing 7 percent of the nation’s electricity. Analysts, however, pointed out that dams do not provide the same amount of electricity. Such an issue, they say, could be solved by adding generators to existing. Wind power, on the other hand, has been rising fast. There are two big reasons for that rapid growth: 1. the federal government has provided both tax credits and subsidies; 2. many states now have laws requiring utilities to get a certain portion of their electricity from renewables. Another energy source that has been increasing in popularity is solar energy, providing around 0.23 percent of electricity in 2013.

Below, you can find the summary of energy sources and percent share of total electricity generation in 2013:

  • Coal 39%
  • Natural Gas 27%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Hydropower 7%
  • Other Renewable 6%
    • Biomass 1.48%
    • Geothermal 0.41%
    • Solar 0.23%
    • Wind 4.13%
  • Petroleum 1%
  • Other Gases < 1%
Solar panel

Shanghai Metal Corporation is able to manufacture a wide range of Solar panel aluminium extrusion in line to meet your request. We can support various aluminum solar module profiles according your design drawings and samples. Our aluminum extrusion products are widely popular among the clients from US, India, Canada and etc. SMC also offers a wide range of metal products, ranging from steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminium, carbon steel, galvanized steel, in varying sizes and formats. To learn more about our metal products, please visit our website. Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Try also our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.

You can also read more articles by our team at SMC:

Four Our Brazilian Readers: A Indústria Siderúrgica Torna-se Global

The Steel Industry Is Becoming Global

Russian Billionaire Sells 10% Stake of His Holding Company

More Women Needed In The Mining Industry

Mining Industry Market Analysis

The Case of Corruption Scandals in China

Good News For China’s Steel Sector

In Economic Turmoil, Environment Remains Key

South Australia Set To Open The Biggest Australian Copper Mine In The Country

China’s Coal Prices

Traditional Business Norm Still Powerful In Digital Age

Ethiopia; Export Extraordinaire

Monopolistic Concerns for the Iron Ore Market


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SMC #BuildingValueAcrossTheGlobe



Camilla G.//SMC Editor

China’s Coal Prices

Chinese coal prices are now close to their bottom after a long decline brought about by slowing demand and excess supply, an executive with a leading Chinese coal firm said. “I think prices are bottoming out and are unlikely to fall a lot more given the sector-wide losses and rising costs,” said Gong Qingchao, Head of Sales and Executive Director with the China Coal Group, China’s second-biggest state coal producer.

Speaking at an industry conference, Gong said about a third of China’s coal miners were making losses in 2013, and a further fall in prices this year has meant that an estimated 80 percent of the total are in the red.

Tumbling prices, caused by weaker demand due to slowing growth in China and a flood of cheaper imports, have forced many smaller miners out of business, while a slew of majors, including Shenhua Energy and Yanzhou Coal , reported losses for their 2013 results.This week, the benchmark Bohai Bay Steam Coal Index price rose 1 yuan to 531 per tonne after falling for 11 consecutive weeks.

Source: Reuters

Elle T. // SMC Editor

Recycling Tyres & Plastic for Steel Production

Recycling Tires & Plastic for Steel Production

The production of steel has become ‘greener’ in recent times with the discovery of using recyclable materials such as rubber and plastic in the production process. The University of New South Wales Australia and steel company OneSteel Ltd have collaborated to achieve a breakthrough which replaces a significant proportion of the coke normally used in Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) steel making with recycled tyres or plastics that are rich in carbon.

The technology is now a standard practice at two of OneSteel’s plants in Sydney and Melbourne. It is reported that over 1.8 million tyres have been saved from landfill and the technology has replaced the use of over 15,000 tonnes of coal. This has reduced many millions of KWh hours of energy each year while increasing furnace productivity and producing more steel from the same amount of ferrous scrap.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla who is the Director of Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the UNSW stated “This greatly improves the steel furnace’s energy efficiency.”

Veena Sahajwalla - High Temperature Furnace

Image: Veena Sahajwalla inserts a sample into the high temperature furnace

The process which is called ‘Polymer Injection Technology’ has been patented internationally and has been commercialised for international steel makers using EAF, which is responsible for 40 percent of the world’s steel production.

This new technology has the potential to significantly change the steel industry’s environmental footprint, improve the global output of steel and reduce the costs of manufacturers and buyers.


Source: ABC, Cooperative Research Centres Association

Elle T. // SMC Editor

Monopolistic Concerns for the Iron Ore Market

Iron ore is a major raw material used to create steel. Therefore, demand for this raw material by the steel industry plays a major role in determining prices. Internationally, iron ore prices are largely determined by the Chinese because they are the largest consumer of iron ore in the world. China accounts for more than 60% of the seaborne iron ore trade.

iron oreThe flagging demand for iron ore from China in the wake of an economic slowdown has put downward pressure on iron ore prices. According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, growth in investment, factory output and retail sales has slowed to multi-year lows in the first two months of the year. A Chinese government crackdown on polluting steel plants has forced many of them to shut down. In addition, tightening of credit by Chinese banks to steel mills that are not performing well, will negatively impact these mills’ prospects. Furthermore, the Chinese leadership has proposed structural reforms of the economy, shifting the emphasis from investment and export driven growth to services and consumption led growth. Such a transformation of the Chinese economy may negatively impact Chinese demand for steel in the long term. Chinese steel demand growth is expected to slow to 3% and 2.7% in 2014 and 2015 respectively, from 6.1% in 2013. Weak demand for steel has indirectly resulted in weak demand for iron ore as well as metallurgical coal.

553194-iron-oreOn the supply side for iron ore, expansion in production by majors such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton has created an oversupply situation. A combination of weak demand and oversupply is likely to result in lower iron ore prices in the near term. Lower iron ore prices will impact smaller mining companies much more than the major mining companies. It appears that the price of iron ore is being manipulated in favour of larger producers. This is due to the smaller company’s higher cost of production of per ton, as compared Rio Tinto and BHP who have lower prices. Iron ore spot prices stood at $92.74 per dry metric ton (dmt) at the end of June 2014, about 19.2% lower than a year ago. The outlook on iron ore prices remains bleak in the near term, in view of the oversupply situation.

It’s not surprising that so many Chinese producers are being forced to close up shop. According to data supplied by Bloomberg, around 80% of China’s mines have operating costs of around $80 to $90 per ton. In comparison, BHP Billiton, and Rio Tinto produce ore at around $53, $68, and $44 per ton respectively.
But it is not just BHP ramping up supply — Rio Tinto and Vale are also ramping up output, compounding the supply problem.
BHP Billiton is increasing output by 260 million to 270 million tonnes from a 217 million tonne target in 2014, and Rio Tinto is on track to produce 295 million tonnes of ore this year, up from 266 million last year.

Further reading:

Jessica R // Editor SMC