Full of Scrap: Mixed heavy melt is no longer just an export

Jun 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  Full of Scrap, 80/20 mix price, ferrous scrap, heavy melt price

There’s a common misperception in much of the North American ferrous scrap industry that an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melting steel is consigned only to export markets, preferably to developing countries where there is enough cheap labor to hand-sort the material as it comes off the ship.

But the delivery of an 80/20 mix isn’t uncommon at domestic mills; depending upon chemistry and metallurgy demands, some mills actually seek a mix of heavy melt grades to charge their electric-arc furnaces (EFs).

“Most of the mills will take 80/20,” said one broker in east-central Pennsylvania. “Most of them won’t say anything if the weight is there. But you take the chance of getting turned away if the truck doesn’t weigh 38,000 pounds.”

The 80/20 mix—typically 80 percent No. 1 heavy melt and 20 percent No. 2 heavy melt—has always been popular with the export trade. In recent years, steelmakers in China, India and Turkey, in particular, have consumed millions of tons of the 80/20 mix. Dealers and brokers call the No. 2 heavy melt portion “light iron,” a term that goes back to the 19th Century that typically refers to material that is 1⁄8-inch thick or under. No. 1 heavy melt is typically at least 1⁄4-inch thick.....

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