A shipment of scrap steel from New York's collapsed World Trade Center will arrive in Shanghai tomorrow, according to media reports. The steel was bought by Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp. and several other domestic mills, which are always eager to buy scrap metal.
Baosteel Group, the nation's largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from "Ground Zero," the ruins of the September 11 terrorist attack, at no more than US$120 each ton, according to yesterday's Beijing Youth Daily.
Most of the scrap will be recycled into ingots, but part of the relics will be mold-ed into WTC souvenirs, the paper said.
Baosteel officials reached by Shanghai Daily, however, denied they will make keepsakes out of the debris, but declined to give more details of their plans, saying only that the scrap will be melted down and reprocessed into new steel products.
Another shipment of 10,000 tons of scrap from the WTC arrived in India earlier this month, reported Shanghai Morning Post. The metal will be melted down and recycled into kitchenware and other household items, the paper said.
India bought its lot at US$120 per ton from the New Jersey scrap processor Metal Management, which purchased 40,000 tons of the debris at an auction held by the New York City government. Dealers estimated that the WTC disaster created more than 300,000 tons of scrap metal.
China, the world's largest steel maker in terms of output, relies heavily on imports of scrap for its steel production. It imported 5.1 million tons of scrap in 2000.
The scrap steel can be melted down into ingots, reprocessed and sold to other industries.
"All in all, China's purchase from the WTC ruins counts for little to its steel industry, given the nation's big consumption of scrap each year," said Qu Li, an analyst with China Securities.
"But the price of US$120 per ton is, if not great, quite reasonable," she added.
The average price paid by local mills last year for scrap steel was 1,250 yuan (US$150.6) a ton.
New York authorities' decision to ship the twin towers' scrap to recyclers has raised the anger of victims' families and some engineers who believe the massive girders should be further examined to help determine how the towers collapsed.
But New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg insisted there are better ways to study the tragedy of September 11.
"If you want to take a look at the construction methods and the design, that's in this day and age what computers do," said Bloomberg, a former engineering major. "Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn't tell you anything."
(eastday.com January 24, 2002)