Brazil pig iron protests raise steel’s interest

May 23, 2012 | 04:56 PM | Sean Davidson

Tags  pig iron, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — Protests by activist group Greenpeace that blocked a bulk shipment of pig iron from Brazil to North America have drawn a frustrated response from U.S. steel mills and traders, who contend the industry has made significant steps in the right direction on environmental issues.

Activists prevented a 31,000-tonne cargo of pig iron from leaving the port of São Luís in the Carajas region of northern Brazil last week by attaching themselves to the anchor chain of dry bulk carrier vessel Clipper Hope (AMM, May 15). It is still unclear where the stalled cargo was headed. Severstal North America Inc., which was named in Greenpeace’s first news release on the protest action, has denied the cargo belonged to the company.

The protest coincided with the publication of a Greenpeace report alleging "how the pig iron industry is destroying the rainforests of northern Brazil," a spokesman for Greenpeace said.

The report claims the charcoal used by Brazilian pig iron producers Viena Siderúrgica do Maranhão (Viena) and Siderúrgica do Pará (Sidepar) is made using forced labor and wood sourced from protected forests. ....

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