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Frequently asked questions about steel, and how it is made

Frequently asked questions

How much steel do you produce each year?

ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel company. In 2013 the company produced 91.2 million tonnes of crude steel.

Where is your steel produced?

We have operations in more than 60 countries and steelmaking facilities in more than 20 countries. Around 38% of our steel is produced in the Americas, 46% in Europe and 16% in other regions, including Kazakhstan, South Africa and Ukraine.

How is steel produced?

The traditional steelmaking process starts with the processing of iron ore. The rock containing iron ore is ground and the ore is extracted using magnetic rollers. It is then processed into coarse-grained clumps for use in the blast furnace. Coal is cleaned of impurities in a coke furnace, yielding an almost pure form of carbon. A mixture of iron ore and coal is then heated in a blast furnace to produce molten iron, or pig iron, from which steel is made. This process is often referred to as the ‘integrated’ process.

What is your steel used for?

We are the leading supplier of quality steel products in all major markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging. Just over a third (34%) of our steel is marketed as finished products, such as pipes or road safety barriers. Some 28% are speciality products for specific industries and tailored to individual customer needs, such as energy, construction, transportation, automotive or machinery.

How steel is made poster 

What is the difference between flat and long steel products?

Flat products include slabs, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil, coated steel products, tinplate and heavy plate. They are used in automotive, heavy machinery, pipes and tubes, construction, packaging and appliances.

Long products include billets, blooms, rebars, wire rod, sections, rails, sheet piles and drawn wire. The main markets for these products are construction, mechanical engineering, energy and automotive.

What famous landmarks are made of your steel?

One World Trade Center in New York, the Emirates Towers in Dubai and Shanghai World Financial Center use our Histar® high-strength steel; the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the London 2012 Olympic Park consists of 2,000 tonnes of our steel, 60% of which is recycled. Our steel has also been used in the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai – the tallest building in the world.

Can steel be recycled?

Yes – steel is infinitely recyclable and can be re-used again and again in the steelmaking process. About 12% of our steel is made from recycled steel, and we are the largest recycler of scrap steel in the world.

Doesn’t steel production pollute the environment?

Across the steel industry, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per tonne of crude steel are now half what they were 40 years ago. And we are constantly striving to develop cleaner steelmaking processes and greener steel products.

One example is our ultra-high-strength steels: by increasing the strength of steel, less needs to be used. This can cut CO2 emissions by up to 30%.

We are also part of the European Ultra Low CO2 Steelmaking project (ULCOS), which brings together more than 50 companies in the steel supply chain, as well as laboratories and universities, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions from steelmaking by 50%.

What happens to by-products from the steel production process?

In 2010, we recycled 37 million tonnes of residues (waste materials), which represents a recovery rate of 82%. Our Brazilian operation in Tubarão uses slag, a by-product of steelmaking, to produce Acerita®, a compound used for road construction. This is just one of 30 products developed in Tubarão that maximise re-use and recycling.

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