Iron and Steel
How are iron and steel made?
There are a variety of different steel production methods in use today. Crude steel is typically produced in an electric arc furnace (EAF), basic oxygen furnace (BOF), or open hearth furnace (OHF). EAFs are fed scrap metal, pig iron (aka crude iron or hot metal), sponge iron (aka direct reduced iron (DRI) or hot briquetted iron (HBI)), or some combination of these iron sources. BOFs and OHFs are typically fed pig iron, but may be supplemented with smaller amounts of scrap metal or DRI. Pig iron is typically produced from iron ore and coking coal (aka coke) in a blast furnace (BF) and DRI is produced in a direct reduced iron plant from iron ore (no coking coal) and hydrogen. Some steel plants operate only one type of production route (typically either BF-BOF or DRI-EAF), but some operate multiple different production routes.
What do the colored dots on the map mean?
The colors indicate the iron and steel production method.
“Integrated” steelmaking refers to steel plants that produce both iron and steel onsite (as opposed to plants that only produce iron or produce steel from purchased iron materials only). In other words, integrated plants produce both steel and the iron material used to make the steel. Integrated steel plants may use different combinations of furnaces to produce iron and steel. Emissions from integrated steelmaking are mainly produced during the ironmaking process. Thus, integrated steelmaking processes are divided by ironmaking processes as detailed below.
“Ironmaking” refers to plants that produce iron products only. Ironmaking plants include plants that use blast furnaces and direct reduced iron production.
“Electric” steelmaking refers to steel plants that only produce steel onsite (not iron) and use an electric arc furnace. Electric steelmaking plants may use scrap metal, sponge iron, pig iron, or some combination of these iron materials as feed.
In the GSPT, steelmaking routes are categorized as follows:
- Electric: Plants that produce only steel onsite and use an electric arc furnace (EAF).
- Electric, oxygen: Plants that produce only steel onsite and use an electric arc furnace (EAF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF).
- Oxygen: Plants that produce only steel onsite and use a basic oxygen furnace (BOF).
- Integrated (BF): Plants that produce both iron and steel onsite. Pig iron is produced in a blast furnace (BF). Steel may be produced using one or more types of furnaces.
- Integrated (DRI): Plants that produce both iron and steel onsite. Sponge iron is produced in a direct reduced iron plant (DRI plant). Steel may be produced using one or more types of furnaces.
- Integrated (BF and DRI): Plants that produce both iron and steel onsite. Pig iron is produced in a blast furnace (BF) and sponge iron is produced in a direct reduced iron plant (DRI plant). Steel may be produced using one or more types of furnaces.
- Integrated (unknown): Plants that produce both iron and steel onsite. Furnace(s) used to produce iron is unknown. Steel may be produced using one or more types of furnaces.
- Ironmaking (BF): Plants that produce only iron onsite. Pig iron is produced in a blast furnace (BF).
- Ironmaking (DRI): Plants that produce only iron onsite. Sponge iron is produced in a direct reduced iron plant (DRI plant).
- Ironmaking (unknown): Plants that produce only iron onsite. Furnace(s) used to produce iron is unknown.
- Unknown: Plant steelmaking process is unknown.
Can I change the production method categories that the map is showing?
Yes. Go to the legend (bottom right corner of the map) and click in the box next to a color.
How is plant status defined?
Plant status is categorized as follows:
- Proposed: Projects that have been announced in corporate or governmental planning documents, but have not begun operation.
- Construction: Physical plant structure building has begun.
- Operating: Plant is operating one or more iron or steelmaking furnace(s).
- Mothballed: Plant iron and steelmaking has been idled such that it cannot be brought into operation immediately, but is not closed.
- Closed: Plant has ceased operations and no longer has ability to produce iron and/or steel.
I’ve zoomed in, but don’t see an iron or steel plant. Why?
In some cases, only approximate location information could be found.
How do I find out if a location is exact or approximate?
To find out the coordinates of a location and whether a location is exact or approximate, click on the location dot, select the wiki page, and look under “Project Details.”
Can I see a list of the iron and steel plants?
Yes, click on “Table” in the top left corner of the map.
Does the tracker show all the operating iron and steel plants in each country?
No. The Global Steel Plant Tracker includes all operating crude iron and steel production plants with capacity of five hundred thousand tonnes per annum or greater, as well as plants with proposed expansions made by March 1, 2022 that bring the plant’s capacity to this threshold. The GSPT is also limited to plants that produce crude iron and/or steel onsite (plants such as rolling mills that process crude steel into final products are omitted).
How do you define capacity and production?
Capacity is the tonnes of crude iron or steel per annum that an iron and steel plant is capable of producing with units currently onsite. Production is actual tonnes of crude iron or steel per annum produced at a plant in a given year. Capacity utilization may be calculated as the difference between capacity and production over capacity.
What is the difference between “units” and “plants?”
The tracker provides separate data on each of the multiple furnaces or pieces of iron and steelmaking equipment that typically exist at a particular location. Each of these furnaces or iron and steelmaking equipment pieces is referred to as a “unit.” The entire collection of units at a given location is referred to as a “plant.”
How is workforce size defined?
Workforce size aims to capture the number of full-time employees working at a given iron and steel plant. In some cases when workforce size could not be found for a specific plant, it was estimated from company-wide workforce data. As the first known attempt to capture the iron and steel industry’s workforce size at the plant-level, GEM presents this data with the caveat that for many plants workforce size remains unknown and/or reported with a lack of transparency for exactly who is included in that workforce size (i.e. full-time vs part-time workers, temporary/contract workers, administrative personnel, etc.). Our aim in providing this data is to create a starting point from which workforce size data can be improved.
Improving the Tracker
What if I find an error or a missing project?
Please use the contact form to let us know about any errors or omissions.
Who built this tool?
The tracker was designed and produced by Global Energy Monitor. To the extent possible, the information in the tracker has been verified by researchers familiar with particular countries. The following people participated in plant-by-plant research: Caitlin Swalec (Global Energy Monitor), Ali Hasanbeigi (Global Efficiency Intelligence), Harshvardhan Khutal (Global Efficiency Intelligence), Pinchookorn Chobthiangtham (Global Efficiency Intelligence), Nihan Karali (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Reza Shamshirgaran (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS of Malaysia), Zulfikar Yurnaidi (ASEAN Center for Energy), Zakariae Mellouk (consultant, Morocco), Ray Pilcher (Raven Ridge Resources), Wynn Feng (Global Energy Monitor), Gregor Clark (Global Energy Monitor), Hanna Fralikhina (Global Energy Monitor), Ariane DesRosiers (Global Energy Monitor), Dorothy Mei (Global Energy Monitor), Kate Logan (formerly Global Energy Monitor), and Aiqun Yu (Global Energy Monitor). The project manager is Caitlin Swalec, with project support from Christine Shearer and Ted Nace. Web/GIS programming was done by Tom Allnutt and Gregor Allensworth (GreenInfo Network), with support from Tim Sinnott (GreenInfo Network).
How do I cite the data?
Please cite the data as “Global Steel Plant Tracker, Global Energy Monitor, March 2022 release.”