Global Energy Monitor

General

How is the Global Steel Plant Tracker different from the Global Blast Furnace Tracker?

While the GSPT tracks all iron and steel production routes, the GBFT focuses on only one type of unit (blast furnaces) at the plants. The GBFT offers more details on blast furnaces and does not include information on any other elements of the iron and steel production chain.

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.

Maps

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 (other): Plants that produce both iron and steel onsite. Pig iron is produced through a direct smelting process. 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 (BF and DRI): Plants that produce only iron onsite. Pig iron is produced in a blast furnace (BF) and 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:

  • Announced: Projects that have been announced in corporate or governmental planning documents, but have not begun construction.
  • 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.
  • Operating pre-retirement: Plant is currently operating, but has announced plans to retire its iron or steelmaking capacity.
  • Retired: Plant has ceased operations and no longer has the ability to produce iron and/or steel.
  • Cancelled: Plant previously planned or under development that has been cancelled. If no progress or announcements for an announced plant are made after 5 years, the plant is considered to be cancelled.
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.”

Data Table

Can I see a list of the iron and steel plants?

Yes, click on “Table” in the top left corner of the map.

Coverage

Does the tracker show all the operating iron and steel plants in each country/area?

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, 2024 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.

What is “capacity operating status” and how is it used?

Capacity operating status indicates whether iron/steel capacity at a plant is operational; possible statuses are: “announced”, “construction”, “operating”, “mothballed”, “operating pre-retirement”, “retired”, and “cancelled”. As of the 2024 update, the capacity at each plant is separated into different rows for each applicable operating status, providing additional detail on plants with units of different operating statuses. For example, an operating plant may have 3 basic oxygen furnaces, 2 operating and 1 mothballed. The summed capacity of the operating units will appear in the “Nominal BOF steel capacity” column of the row with the capacity operating status set to “operating” and the mothballed unit’s capacity will appear in the row with the capacity operating status “mothballed”.

Why are blast furnaces missing from the “Detailed production equipment” data category?

Since the launch of the Global Blast Furnace Tracker, blast furnace units are recorded in a separate dataset. On wiki pages the “Blast Furnace Details” section contains all information on these units.

Why is there more than one row for the same plant and how does one differentiate the rows?

When there are multiple rows for one plant in the dataset this indicates that the plant has units at different stages of development. Each row attached to a particular plant represents capacity associated with distinct operating statuses (see “What is ‘capacity operating status’ and how is it used?” above) or development/shutdown timelines.

To determine the difference between rows, first look to “capacity operating status”. If there are multiple entries for a plant with the same operating status, reviewing “date” data (“start date”, “retired date”, etc.) should illuminate the various stages. For instance, you might see two rows for a given plant with an “operating” status, but one has a start date of 2015 and the other has a start date of 2020; this indicates that some capacity came online in 2015, then the plant was expanded and this additional capacity came online in 2020. A plant’s total capacity should be taken as the sum of all rows with that plant ID.

Why is there an “operating” row with no iron or steel capacity?

Some rows in the dataset have an “operating” capacity operating status and show “N/A” in all iron and steel capacity columns; this indicates that all capacity at that plant is represented in other rows for the plant as that capacity has shifted over time, usually due to a technology transition at the plant. Other plant-specific data such as upstream material capacities and workforce information are still included in this row, but for a complete picture of iron and steel capacity you should look at all rows for the plant in combination.

Why do some rows in the dataset have production equipment and process entries that don’t match the capacity information?

The “main production equipment” and “main production process” data list all of the equipment in the entire phase, but some phases have multiple rows to show capacity with different operating statuses (see “Why is there more than one row for the same plant?”). So, the “main production equipment” and “main production process” columns will be the same for all rows that are part of the same production pathway, even if only part of that capacity is reflected in the capacity data column of that row. For instance, you may see a row that has an “integrated (BF)” process and “BF, BOF” equipment listed, but only blast furnace capacity showing up. However, if you look at all rows corresponding with the plant ID, you will see this technology reflected there.

How is ownership shown in the GSPT?

As of the 2024 update, the GSPT has integrated its owner and parent data with GEM’s Global Energy Ownership Tracker. Please visit that project’s homepage for more information.

The GSPT reports the first owner/operator of the plant in the “Owner” column and the ultimate parent companies along with their percent stake in the plant in the “Parent” column. If there is a parent with no stake percentage listed, the exact percentage data has not been confirmed.

Improving the Tracker

What if I find an error or a missing project?

Please fill out an error report form here.

Credits

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: Astrid Grigsby-Schulte (Global Energy Monitor), Caitlin Swalec (Global Energy Monitor), Gregor Clark (Global Energy Monitor), Hanna Fralikhina (Global Energy Monitor), Henna Khadeeja (Global Energy Monitor), Jessie Zhi (Global Energy Monitor), Marie Armbruster (Global Energy Monitor), Natalia Fretz (Global Energy Monitor), Norah Elmagraby (Global Energy Monitor), Zhanaiym Kozybay (Global Energy Monitor), Ziwei Zhang (Global Energy Monitor), Wynn Feng (Global Energy Monitor), Xiaojun Peng (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), Ariane DesRosiers (formerly Global Energy Monitor), Christine Shearer (Global Energy Monitor), Dorothy Mei (Global Energy Monitor), Kate Logan (formerly Global Energy Monitor), and Aiqun Yu (Global Energy Monitor). The project is managed by Astrid Grigsby-Schulte, within GEM’s Heavy Industry Program, managed by Caitlin Swalec, with support from Louisa Plotnick 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 refer to the Download Data page for citation guidance.