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One way to make steel more sustainable is to make more of it from scrap, recycling old steel into something new...

Sourcing scrap from ships: Responsible ship dismantling in Morocco

One way to make steel more sustainable is to make more of it from scrap, recycling old steel into something new. That’s the aim of a new project in Morocco. By 2014, the demand for scrap at Sonadid’s Jord Lasfar site far exceeded the capacity of the Moroccan scrap market, and importing scrap from overseas made little strategic sense, either economically or in terms of sustainability.

One answer was to source scrap from the disused ships temporarily moored in Moroccan ports. In addition to being a good source of scrap steel, removing these ships is also good for the environment, for the local tourism industry and the capacity of the ports. There are currently around 70 such ships.

In 2012 Sonasid ran a pilot project to dismantle the Remora II vessel, including removing the liquids from its tanks. The ship was then towed to the port of Jorf Lasfar for dismantling, one kilometre away from Sonasid’s steel plant. Managing this process has enabled us to ensure that international health, safety and environment standards for the dismantling of ships (the Hong Kong convention) are embedded in this new local industry. Following this success, we’ve now developed a joint venture with a global shipbreaking operator, which will conform to international safety and environmental standards, especially in the handling of materials such as asbestos, heavy metals, fuels and ozone-depleting substances. The venture will start in 2015, and will also create at least 30 local jobs. Using the scrap steel from the ships will avoid the emission of four tonnes of CO2 for every five tonnes of steel produced. Moreover, some 3000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved every year by not transporting scrap from Europe.

We aim to be a leading example in Africa of how the steel industry is developing the local economy in a resource-efficient way, by improving the carbon intensity of steel, cleaning up the local environment, ensuring safe working conditions, and responsible supply chain standards. In short, we are working towards greater sustainability for steel, over its whole lifecycle.

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