Iron material flow analysis for production, consumption, and trade in China from 2010 to 2015

Iron material flow analysis for production, consumption, and trade in China from 2010 to 2015

Accepted Manuscript Iron Material Flow Analysis for Production, Consumption, and Trade in China from 2010 to 2015 Qiangfeng Li, Tao Dai, Gaoshang Wan...

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Accepted Manuscript Iron Material Flow Analysis for Production, Consumption, and Trade in China from 2010 to 2015

Qiangfeng Li, Tao Dai, Gaoshang Wang, Jinhua Cheng, Weiqiong Zhong, Bojie Wen, Liang Liang PII:

S0959-6526(17)32936-0

DOI:

10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.12.006

Reference:

JCLP 11401

To appear in:

Journal of Cleaner Production

Received Date:

26 June 2017

Revised Date:

26 November 2017

Accepted Date:

01 December 2017

Please cite this article as: Qiangfeng Li, Tao Dai, Gaoshang Wang, Jinhua Cheng, Weiqiong Zhong, Bojie Wen, Liang Liang, Iron Material Flow Analysis for Production, Consumption, and Trade in China from 2010 to 2015, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro. 2017.12.006

This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT Highlights     

We analysed the material flow of iron in China from 2010 to 2015 Actual iron consumption was approximately 80% of the apparent iron consumption 2/3 of iron-containing commodities were for domestic use and 1/3 was exported Raw material loss mainly occurred during the beneficiation of domestic iron ore This is an important data base for research promoting sustainable iron resource use

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Iron Material Flow Analysis for Production,

2

Consumption, and Trade in China from 2010 to 2015

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Qiangfeng LI a,b,c, Tao DAI b,c*, Gaoshang WANG b,c, Jinhua CHENG a,

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Weiqiong ZHONG b,c, Bojie WEN b,c, Liang LIANG d

6 a

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School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China b

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MLR Key Laboratory of Metallogeny and Mineral Assessment, Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, 100037, China

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c

Research Center for Strategy of Global Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, 100037, China

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d

China University of Geosciences(Beijing), Beijing 100083, China

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*Correspondence to: Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, No.

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26 Baiwanzhuang Street, Beijing, 100037, China. Tel.: +86 01068999069,

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E-mail: [email protected]

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Abstract: Statistical analyses of import and export trade data for iron-containing commodities were combined with data for domestic iron ore mining, iron and steel smelting, and secondary iron and steel resources to construct an MFA (material flow analysis) for iron production, consumption, and trade in China. The analysis showed that (1) the highest actual consumption of iron in China was 625 Mt in 2013, and the actual consumption of iron was approximately 80% of the apparent consumption; (2) from 2010 to 2015, approximately 90% of imported iron material was iron ore, and more than 97% of exported iron material was rolled steel and IEP (iron-containing end products); (3) 2/3 of the iron-containing commodities produced in China were for domestic consumption, and 1/3 was exported; and (4) loss of raw materials during processing primarily occurred in the beneficiation of domestic iron ore, with annual losses of approximately 50% of the total. This study provides a data base for further research into resource policy, industrial development, and metal waste and environmental management.

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Keywords: material flow analysis; iron; production; actual consumption; trade

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1 Introduction Iron is an essential material for economic development. It is widely used in construction

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and the manufacturing of vehicles, utensils, etc. With the rapid development of China’s

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economy, the import and use of iron resources has continued to increase. From 2000 to 2015,

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China’s iron ore (standard ore) imports increased from 70 Mt to 953 Mt, iron ore (standard

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ore) consumption increased from 175 Mt to 1190 Mt, and external dependence increased

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from 40% to 80% (Fig. 1). This high and rapid consumption of iron resources has introduced

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a series of challenges to China’s sustainable development of iron resources and

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environmental protection. Namely: (1) China’s iron resources are in short supply but demand

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is high, and China depends heavily on external sources, and (2) the production and

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processing of iron discharges large amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. A key

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requirement for the sustainable development of iron resources and the reduction of

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environmental damage is determining the actual consumption of iron resources in China, as

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well as the material flow for production and trade, and provide a data base for further

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research.

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Fig. 1. Iron ore imports, consumption, and external dependence in China (2000–2015) (Data from the World Steel Association)

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In this study, the actual consumption of iron resources in China and material flow data

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for production and trade are measured using a material flow analysis (MFA). MFA is a

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quantitative method for describing changes in the stock and flow of a material or materials in

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time and space (Kalmykova et al., 2016; Laner et al., 2016). It is one of the most important

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and basic methods for resource management and environmental system analysis (Haes et al.,

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1997; Voet et al., 1995). Many scholars have used MFA to study the material flow of metal

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resources, including copper (Wang et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2015), aluminum (Chen et al.,

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2010; Ding et al., 2016; Liu and Müller, 2013), lead (Jeong and Kim, 2017), zinc (Guo et al.,

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2010), lithium (Hao et al., 2017), mercury (Habuer et al., 2016), and iron. Iron material flow

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research can be divided into two categories; the first focuses on iron flow at the enterprise 2

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level. The dynamic analysis of iron material flow was analyzed by Hu et al., (2010) for

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Chinese residential buildings, and by Nakamura et al., (2011) for the automotive industry.

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The iron recycling process of the U.S. steel industry was analyzed in detail using MFA by

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Fenton (2003). These studies reveal the various aspects of iron flow within the industry and

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their characteristics, providing a basis for a lifecycle analysis of the physical flow of iron.

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The other research category focuses on changes in iron stocks and flows at the national

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or regional level of the full iron lifecycle. Studies have included the United Kingdom (Davis

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et al., 2007; Geyer et al., 2007), Sweden (Gauffin et al., 2017), Europe (Panasiyk et al.,

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2016), Australia, Brazil, China, and India (Yellishetty and Mudd, 2014). These studies

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intuitively show the flow conditions of each phase throughout the iron and steel production

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process, from smelting to processing, manufacturing, discarding after use, and recycling.

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Moreover, the results of these studies had important implications for further studies on

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resource policy, industrial development, and the waste and environmental management of

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metals.

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Some preliminary studies have been conducted into the iron material flow of iron and

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steel production in China (Bu, 2005; Lu, 2002; Lu et al., 2000; Lu and Dai , 2005; Yu et al.,

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2000), but these were not performed at the national level, and mostly only applied to

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industry. Guo and Zhang (2016); Wang et al. (2014); Yan (2013); Yan and Wang (2014) and

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Pauliuk et al. (2012) studied the iron material flow of the production, consumption, and trade

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of iron raw materials, crude steel, and rolled steel in China, but neglected the material flow of

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iron-containing end products (IEP) in consumption and import and export trade. This is

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predominantly because the iron content of many types of IEP is difficult to calculate. This

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results in higher analytical errors, reducing the accuracy of the material flow analysis and the

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reliability of the conclusions.

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Thus, this study includes all iron and steel products, including iron and steel end

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products, in an iron material flow analysis for the first time. Based on the calculation of

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import and export trade data for iron-containing commodities, and data on China’s domestic

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iron ore mining, iron and steel smelting, secondary recovery of steel, etc., the MFA was used

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to examine the flow of Chinese iron resources for production, consumption, and trade from

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2010 to 2015. In section 2, the MFA and system boundaries are introduced, and iron material

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flows are calculated. In section 3, the iron material flow results are analyzed, and section 4

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presents the discussion and conclusion.

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2 System boundaries and calculations

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2.1 System boundaries

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In this study, the annual iron material flows from 2010 to 2015 were analyzed by using

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mainland China as the spatial boundary and a temporal limit of a year.. The range of iron

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materials includes all types of iron-containing commodities such as iron ore, pig iron, crude

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steel, rolled steel, and IEP (iron-containing end products, such as vehicles, machinery, ships,

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etc.). The framework adopted in this study (Fig. 2) is different from the traditional STAF

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(stocks and flows) framework (Zhang et al., 2009). Instead of calculating the stock separately

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at each stage of the iron life cycle, the stocks were considered at all stages as a whole. By

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measuring the iron material flow in and out of the spatial boundary, the iron stocks for the

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entire spatial boundary were calculated; this is called the actual iron consumption. The actual

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consumption in this study is the sum of the total iron material consumed in China in one year.

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Fig. 2. STAF framework of the iron material flow analysis for China (Modified from Zhang et al.,

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2009)

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2.2 Calculation method and data sources MFA is based on the conservation of mass; thus, the iron material output and input in each link and the entire national interface should be equal (Chen et al., 2010). Finput + F import = Foutput + Fexport + Floss…………(1)

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In Eq. (1), Finput, F import, Foutput, Fexport, and Floss refer to the domestic material input, import,

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output, export, and loss of the total iron material flow in a link or the entire national interface.

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The various iron material flows are presented as masses of pure iron in this study.

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2.2.1 Actual iron consumption

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In the entire national interface, the input data include the domestic iron ore for the

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current year, the iron content in the imported iron-containing commodities, scrap steel from

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social recycling for the current year, and the stocked iron-containing commodities at the end

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of the previous year. The output data include the actual iron consumption for the current year,

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the iron content in the exported iron-containing commodities, the loss due to raw material 4

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processing, and the iron content in the stocked iron-containing commodities at the end of the

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current year. As the study involves a long time scale, the amount of change between the

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previous year iron-product stocks and current year iron-product stocks is very small. It is

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assumed that the stocks for all years are the same. Thus, China’s actual iron consumption, M,

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is: 𝑀 = 𝑀1 + 𝑀2 + 𝑀3 ‒ 𝑀4 ‒ 𝑀5………(2)

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where M1 represents the domestic iron ore, M2 represents the annual scrap steel of social

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recycling, M3 represents the iron content in imported iron-containing commodities, M4

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represents the iron content in exported iron-containing commodities, and M5 represents the

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loss due to raw material processing.

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2.2.2 Iron material of domestic iron ore The calculation formula for iron material in domestic iron ore is: 𝑛

𝑀1 =

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∑ 𝑀 ………(3) 𝑞

𝑞=1

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where q represents the different grades of iron ore and Mq represents the iron content in the

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annual domestic q-grade iron ore. This data was provided by the China Iron and Steel

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Industry Association.

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2.2.3 Iron material of annually scrap steels The calculation formula for iron material in annually scrap steel is: 𝑛

𝑀2 =

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∑ 𝑀 ………(4) 𝑠

𝑠=1

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where s represents the different categories of scrap steel from social recycling, and Ms

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represents the iron content in s-category scrap steel from social recycling. This data was

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provided by the China Iron and Steel Industry Association.

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2.2.4 Iron material of iron-containing commodities in trade The calculation formula for iron material in import iron-containing commodities is: 𝑛

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𝑀3 =

𝑛

∑𝑀 = ∑𝐶

𝑃 ∗ 𝑅𝑃………(5)

𝑝

𝑝=1

𝑝=1

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where p represents the different categories of iron-containing commodities in import and

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export trade, Cp represents the mass of p-category imported iron-containing commodities, Rp

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represents the iron-content coefficient of p-category iron-containing commodities, and Mp 5

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represents the iron content in p-category imported iron-containing commodities. The calculation formula for iron material in export iron-containing commodities is:

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𝑛

𝑀4 =

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𝑛

∑𝐸 = ∑𝑋 𝑝

𝑝=1

𝑝 ∗ 𝑅𝑃………(6)

𝑝=1

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where p represents the different categories of iron-containing commodities in import and

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export trade, Xp represents the mass of p-category exported iron-containing commodities, Rp

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represents the iron-content coefficient of p-category imported and exported iron-containing

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commodities, and Ep represents the iron content in p-category exported iron-containing

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commodities. The data calculated for M3 and M4 were taken from China Customs and UN

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comtrade (http://comtrade.un.org), and each datum contains the name, code, volume, and

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dollar value of these products. To calculate the material flow of iron in imports and exports,

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the data were processed by stratified sampling statistics. Table 1. Data classification and iron content coefficient

166 Categories Iron ore

Pig iron

Crude steel

Subclasses

Iron content

Coefficient description

Un-sintered iron ore

0.62

Sintered iron ore

0.62

Ordinary pig iron

0.96–0.99

Pig iron carbon content of 2% to 4.3%

Alloy pig iron

0.2–0.6

Alloy pig iron: contains different iron contents and

Steelmaking pig iron

0.98–0.99

different elements. Iron content varies the most;

Casting pig iron

0.99

between 0.2 to 0.6.

Ordinary crude steel

0.99

Ordinary crude steel: carbon content approximately

Alloy crude steel

0.90–0.95

Stainless steel

0.87

Platts 62% iron ore

1%; Alloy steel: alloy content approximately 5– 10%; Stainless steel: Cr content at least 10.5%, carbon content of about 0.05 to 1.2%.

Long strip of steel

0.98–0.99

Rolled

Plate steel

0.98–0.99

steel

Narrow strip steel

0.98–0.99

Tubular steel

0.98–0.99

Building prefabricated materials

0.35

Agricultural machinery

0.52

Engineering machinery

0.65

Instruments

0.33

Stationery

0.29

sub-categories were based on parameters such as the

Machine tools

0.62

weight and material composition of 540 different

Electrical appliances

0.55

IEP sub-categories combined with the product

Mechanical basic parts

0.45

parameters of each related industry. The 19

Metal packaging materials

0.61

coefficients of IEP were given by weighting the

Metal forgings

0.65

average of the 540 coefficients of IEP sub-

Household appliances

0.58

Marine transport

0.45

Air traffic equipment

0.45

Land traffic vehicles

0.53

IEP

Carbon content of steel 0.04%–2.3%. To ensure toughness and plasticity, carbon content is generally less than 1.7%

The iron-containing coefficients of different IEP

categories

6

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0.62

Hardware products

0.67

Power lines

0.66

Petrochemical supplies

0.93

Traffic facilities

0.85

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Stratified sampling (Shields et al., 2015) is also called type sampling or classification

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sampling. Generally, a strongly heterogeneous population is divided into several

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homogeneous subpopulations. Samples from the different subpopulations are then combined

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with other subpopulation samples to make one grand sample of the original population. The

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customs data from 2010 to 2015 were classified into five classes and 33 subclasses (Table 1)

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to describe the sequence followed by the steel industry. The pure iron of each subpopulation

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was estimated, as well as the volume of the iron-containing commodities in each

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subpopulation.

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The iron-containing coefficients of different IEP sub-categories were based on

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parameters such as the weight and material composition of 540 different sub-categories of

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IEP combined with the product parameters of each related industry. The 19 coefficients of

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IEP were given by weighting the average of the 540 coefficients of IEP sub-categories (Table

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1). Finally, the iron contents of various iron-containing commodities were calculated.

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2.2.5 Iron material loss in raw material processing

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The calculation formula for iron material loss in raw material processing is: 𝑀5 = 𝑀1 ∗ (1 ‒ ω1) + 𝐷1 ∗ (1 ‒ ω2) + 𝐷2 ∗ (1 ‒ ω3)………(7)

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where M1 represents the iron content of domestic iron ore, ω1 represents the beneficiation

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recovery rate of domestic iron ore, D1 represents the iron content in the iron ore concentrate,

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ω2 represents the actual metal recovery rate of the iron ore concentrate in the iron-smelting

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process, D2 represents pig iron, and ω3 represents the actual metal recovery rate of iron in

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steel-smelting. Based on data provided by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), the

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average beneficiation recovery rate for the domestic production of iron ore was set at 70%;

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the actual metal recovery rate for iron ore concentrate smelted into pig iron was set at 91%;

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and the actual metal recovery rate for the steel smelting of pig iron was set at 97%.

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3 Results and analyses

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3.1 Changes in the actual iron consumption in China

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The results of iron consumption in China from 2010 to 2015 suggest that the total

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consumption increased and then slowly declined (Fig. 4). The highest actual consumption of

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iron in China was 625 Mt in 2013. This trend may be related to the onset of China's iron

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consumption peak. According to Wang (2010) and Wang et al. (2002), China's iron resource 7

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consumption will not increase substantially in the future. China’s iron material flow map for

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2015 was drawn based on the model and measured data (Fig. 3).

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Fig. 3. Iron material flow for China in 2015

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The actual iron consumption data measured in this study include the import and export

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volumes of crude steel, rolled steel, and thousands of IEP. The calculated data for the

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apparent consumption of crude steel are accessible and easy to calculate, but the results

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deviate significantly from the actual data because there are no statistics of import and export

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data for thousands of IEP. Compared with the apparent consumption of crude steel in China,

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the advantage of estimating the actual iron consumption is related to wider coverage and

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more rigorous analysis, whereas the disadvantage lies in more complex data processing and

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calculations.

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Fig. 4. A comparison between actual iron consumption and apparent crude steel consumption

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The results in Fig. 4 suggest that the actual consumption of iron in China is

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approximately 80% of the apparent consumption. The main reasons for this are as follows.

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First, China has a large annual net export volume of steel products. Based on the calculations

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in this study, the total iron content in the net export of steel products in each year from 2010

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to 2015 was 72 Mt, 79 Mt, 80 Mt, 85 Mt, 98 Mt, and 98 Mt, respectively (Fig. 4). Steel

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products processed from crude steel were exported from China to various countries, but the

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apparent consumption of crude steel was not subtracted from the steel product. Therefore, the

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apparent consumption of crude steel is higher than the actual consumption.

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Second, new scrap is annually produced when crude steel is processed into rolled steel

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and steel products. New scrap refers to the waste scrap or defective products generated when

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the crude steel is processed into rolled steel and steel products (Broadbent, 2016). New scrap

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is not counted as scrap steel from social recycling but goes back to the upper industrial chain

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to reenter the steel link. According to the model established in this study, new scrap is

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excluded from the actual consumption of iron but is not excluded from the apparent

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consumption of crude steel. Therefore, the existence of new scrap is another reason why the 10

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iron content in the actual iron consumption in China is less than that in the apparent

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consumption of crude steel.

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3.2 Changes in iron material flow in the import and export trade

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The data analysis for iron material flow in the import and export trades from 2010 to

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2015 show that the majority of imported iron material was raw material. Approximately 90%

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of the total imports were iron ore, whereas imports of pig iron, crude steel, and rolled steel

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and steel products were approximately 10%. More than 97% of exported iron material was

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steel products and rolled steel, whereas exports of iron ore, pig iron, and crude steel were less

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than 3% of the total exports (Fig. 5).

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT Fig. 5. Total iron material in the import and export trade in China from 2010 to 2015

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Fig. 6. Iron material flow in the import and export trade in China from 2010 to 2015

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From 2010 to 2015, China’s iron ore export volume was very small, with an annual

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export volume of up to 81,700 tons, accounting for less than 1% of the total export volume.

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The annual volume of iron ore imports was large, and increased yearly from 383 Mt in 2010

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to 591 Mt in 2015. The iron ore import percentage of the total import volume increased from

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86% in 2010 to 93% in 2015 (Figs. 5 and 6).

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China’s pig iron exports did not vary from 2010 to 2015. They were approximately 3

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Mt, accounting for about 1% of the total export volume. Pig iron imports decreased from 6

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Mt in 2010 to 3 Mt in 2015, accounting for no more than 2% of total imports. The pig iron

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import and export volumes were essentially equal, and their percentages were not large (Figs.

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5 and 6).

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From 2010 to 2015, China’s crude steel exports were minimal, and the annual export

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volume in the past five years was less than 200,000 tons, with mining accounting for less

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than 2%. The import volume of crude steel decreased yearly from 13 Mt in 2010 to 5 Mt in

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2015. China’s crude steel imports were greater than the exports, suggesting a need to import

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crude steel, but as imports continued to decrease, so did China’s dependence on imports.

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Based on the import and export ratio, crude steel did not dominate China’s steel import and

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export trade (Figs. 5 and 6).

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China’s rolled steel exports increased from 60 Mt in 2010 to 171 Mt in 2015, an

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increase of almost 200%, and the relative increases were 40 % to 60%. The rolled steel

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imports decreased from 30 Mt to 24 Mt, and the relative decreases were 7% and 4%,

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respectively (Figs. 5 and 6).

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China’s steel products exports grew from 84 Mt in 2010 to 113 Mt in 2015, but 12

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decreased from 57% to 39%, suggesting that China exported a large number of steel

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products, which formed the dominant part of China’s iron export trade. In 2014, the share of

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exports of rolled steel exceeded the share of exports of iron-containing end products. Imports

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of steel products did not change substantially, and remained at approximately 14 Mt, ranging

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from 2% to 4% (Figs. 5 and 6).

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Fig. 7. A comparison of domestic consumption and exports of iron-containing commodities

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From the data in sections 2.2.2 and 2.2.3, the domestic consumption and export volume

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of steel products produced in China was calculated. China’s exports of steel products

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increased by 138 Mt from 148 Mt in 2010 to 286 Mt in 2015, an increase of 93%, whereas

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the actual domestic consumption increased by 92 Mt, an increase of 20%. Two thirds of the

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iron-containing commodities produced in China were for domestic consumption, and 1/3 was

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exported to other countries (Fig. 7).

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3.3 Change in iron loss due to raw material processing

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Tailings are produced during the beneficiation of iron ore, and iron slag, steel slag,

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furnace dust, sludge, and other iron-containing byproducts are produced during iron ore

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processing and steel smelting (Yan, 2013). Therefore, the loss of raw materials during

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processing comprises both the loss during beneficiation of domestic iron ore and losses due

284

to iron and steel smelting.

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Fig. 8.

Losses during iron raw material processing in China from 2010 to 2015 13

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Changes in the loss of iron during iron raw material processing from 2010 to 2015 are

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shown in Fig. 8. From 2010 to 2015, China’s iron raw material processing losses increased

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from 151 Mt in 2010 to 204 Mt in 2015. Losses were highest during beneficiation of the

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domestic iron ore, at approximately 50% of the total losses.

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4 Discussions and conclusions Through the above analysis, the concludsions show that:

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(1) China's iron resource production, consumption, and trade are increasing. From 2010

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to 2015, the annual iron ore production in China grew from 300 Mt to 420 Mt. The actual

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consumption of iron grew from 470 Mt to 620 Mt, and the annual import and export volumes

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of iron material grew from approximately 440 Mt to 630 Mt, and from 140 Mt to 280 Mt,

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respectively. A rapid increase in the production and consumption of iron resources will

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inevitably cause damage to the environment, especially because the steel processing industry

300

is a major carbon emissions sector. To ensure sustainable development and environmental

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protection, China should establish a conservation of steel awareness, reduce steel use,

302

encourage the use of renewable materials to replace steel, and vigorously promote the

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recycling of scrap steel.

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(2) Analysis of the iron and steel import and export structure showed that China mainly

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imports iron ore and other raw materials, and exports steel products and steel. One-third of

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iron-containing commodities produced in China are exported to other countries. These

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exported steel products are bound to impact on the environment during their production and

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processing. However, China’s environmental objectives and trade objectives are

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contradictory. Expanding exports in the interests of economic advancement will also have an

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adverse effect on domestic energy, resources, and the environment, as well as exacerbate

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international pressure on China to reduce emissions. Thus, in order to protect the

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environment, trade interests must be sacrificed to promote sustainable development of trade

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and the economy.

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(3) The loss of raw material during iron resource processing is substantial in China,

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with total annual losses of 150 Mt to 210 Mt. Losses owing to the beneficiation of domestic

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iron ore are the highest; and annual losses account for more than 50% of total losses.

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Therefore, the technology should be improve to minimize the loss of iron during mineral

318

processing, development, and utilization of iron resources. This can involve reducing the use

319

of low-grade iron ore produced in China and using scrap to replace iron ore as the dominant

320

steel material. This would not only increase iron resource use, but also significantly reduce

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greenhouse gas emissions.

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Owing to limited data sources,

the material flow during the production, consumption, 14

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 323

and trade of iron resources in China from 2010 to 2015 were studied only, and the changes in

324

the annual stocks of iron-containing commodities were not analyzed. It is assumed that the

325

stock at the beginning of the year was the same as at the end of the year. In future research,

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China’s iron material flow over broader time scales, as well as changes in the stocks of iron-

327

containing commodities will be considered. In addition, a model based on the service life of

328

steel products would be constructed to quantitatively estimate the recycling potential of

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secondary iron and steel resources.

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Acknowledgements This study was financially supported by the geological surveying projects of China

333

Geological Survey (12120115057601 and 12120115057801). Sincere thanks are due to

334

Professor Anjian Wang, Fangqin Li, Ying Li from the Strategic Research Centre of Global

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Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, for their help with this

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research.

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337 338

References

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