Overview

2016 was a year of important progress for ArcelorMittal.

Action 2020

Action 2020 is ArcelorMittal's commitment to structurally improving profitability and cash flow generation.

Governance

Good corporate governance is about compliance, continuous stakeholder dialogue and being a good corporate citizen.

Fact book

Details of our steel and mining operations, financials, production facilities and shareholder information.

11

R&D process solution projects focused on by-products and recycling

33 million

tonnes lower CO2 due to the recycling of scrap

7 million

tonnes CO2 avoided via use of BF slag to replace cement

Steel, ethanol and the low-carbon economy

How breakthrough science could turn steel mills into fuel-makers.

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Working towards zero waste to landfill

We've set up an ‘expert hub’ to pool our learning across the business, and look at how we can be more strategic in the use of our by-products. Our vision is for zero waste to landfill while maximizing value for our stakeholders. In 2016, we asked all our major sites to assess themselves against a dashboard of agreed criteria developed by the expert hub.

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Eco-cement direct from the steel mill

For every tonne of steel manufactured, ArcelorMittal produce around a third of a tonne of...

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By-products from steelmaking for a circular economy

A blast furnace converts iron ore into steel using coking coal and limestone. At the same time, this ingenious piece of industrial chemistry creates a wide range of by-products such as slag and sludges, dust, waste gases, and of course heat and steam. With modern environmental processes, many of these ‘waste’ products from the steelmaking process are captured, and so we are constantly researching new ways to find value from them. We aim to use as much as we can in our own processes, and what we can’t use, we try to make available to others as a valuable industrial resource. In 2016 we reused 78% of our residues, with some 8% going to landfill.

Blast furnace slag, for example, can be used as cement, or in the production of stonewool (a fire retardant and insulator), or in glass-making. Other slag by-products can be used as fertiliser or in road construction. And the waste gases from different stages in the steelmaking process are either re-used internally, or used to generate energy – often for the surrounding communities once we’ve met the needs of our own operations.

Our global R&D division is currently working on 11 new research projects to develop new process solutions to help the company achieve outcome 4. For example, we are partnering with other industries to investigate the use of slag for water filtration.

To be truly sustainable, of course, initiatives like these must be financially viable, which often means by-products are 'valorised'. Our global R&D division has developed a modelling tool, ROMEO, to evaluate the impacts of re-using by-products to ensure that a financial saving in one place does not create a negative environmental impact elsewhere. In 2016, we used ROMEO on two projects but found neither to be viable – a disappointment, but evidence that our checks are suitably rigorous.

We also work on a number of projects to put our gaseous by-products to good use. One of the projects that offers considerable potential is our partnership with LanzaTech, which aims to convert our waste CO2 into useful products, such as ethanol, on an industrial scale, potentially delivering an entirely new way in which steel mills could capture and re-use carbon. Our flagship demonstation project in Ghent, Belgium, finalised the engineering of the plant and started with the first onsite investments. The plant will start operations in 2018.

Recycling scrap steel

Steel's recyclability is a huge asset. 28% of the steel we produce globally comes from scrap, and overall around 87% of the world’s obsolete steel is recycled – the highest recycling rate of any material. Making steel from scrap requires far less carbon than making fresh steel from iron ore. When we include this end-of-life recycling in the assessment of overall CO2 emissions, steel is one of the most carbon-friendly man-made materials that exists today. So, as more scrap steel becomes available, it will play an increasingly important part in the low-carbon circular economy of the future.

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Currently, however, there remain some challenges to the exclusive use of scrap steel, both in terms of quality and availability. Globally, quantities of scrap fall short of demand, and are sufficient for around one third of global needs. Even in Europe, where more end-of-life steel is available there's only enough scrap to meet half of the region's demand. We’re collaborating with the University of Cambridge to look at the efficiencies of steel flows between one lifecycle phase to another, and where the potential for greater cost and carbon efficiencies lie.

When it comes to the scrap mix, this has no impact on the qualities of most steels used in construction and infrastructure. However, it can be a hurdle for the production of specialist steels, such as wires or advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) steels for the automotive sector. Ultimately our production balance responds to the demand for different products, and since the slowdown in demand for construction products continued in 2016, our use of scrap also fell slightly, to 25 million tonnes. We’ve been looking at different ways to sort automotive scrap, and are currently investigating an automated approach in collaboration with automotive customers.

A future made from scrap

In 2016, we commissioned a third-party study aimed at identifying the impacts the increasing availability of scrap will have on the steel industry. Currently, the most rational economic allocation of resources is to produce construction steel (long products) with obsolete scrap and to make more specialised steels (flat products) with blast furnace (iron-ore) steel. We wanted to know when, if we take into account long-term demographic and steel market trends, will the world be in a position to produce steel from scrap rather than iron ore? We might have expected steel to be predominantly made from scrap by the middle of the century. Our study showed that the emergence of developing economies – where construction steels will play an important role – will be heavily influenced by scrap availability, transportation and trade. But only shortly after 2050 will there be enough obsolete scrap to enable flat products to be made from obsolete scrap too. By 2070 will steel made from scrap become predominant. The role of blast furnace production, therefore, will remain important in producing new steel for many decades to come.

The Jean-Sebastien Thomas Prize: supporting scientific study of scrap steel

In May 2016, our inaugural prize honouring our late colleague Jean-Sebastien Thomas, a leader in the field of sustainable steel, was awarded to Kentaro Takeyama from the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan for his work on material flow analysis in scrap steel.

Making steel use more efficient

We want the steel that leaves our mills to be used by our customers as efficiently as possible, and we're exploring ways to reduce the off-cuts of steel our customers generate – what is known as 'pre-consumer scrap'. Working with a number of European universities, we're analysing how and where this scrap is generated – and what savings in cost and carbon our process innovations could achieve.

Performance at a glance

Metric Unit 2016 2015 2014
Scrap recycled million tonnes 25.3 28 31
Lower CO2 due to scrap recycling million tonnes 33 37 40
Production residues and by-products re-use (steel) % 78 79 81
Production residues and by-products re-use (mining) % 10 10 10
Blast furnace slag re-used million tonnes 18 16 18
BF slag sold to cement million tonnes 9 8 11
CO2 avoided due to BF slag use in place cement million tonnes 7 6 8

Eco-cement direct from the steel mill

For every tonne of steel manufactured, ArcelorMittal produce around a third of a tonne of blast furnace slag. When this slag is cooled very quickly in a process known as granulation, it becomes a valuable resource that can be used as a partial replacement for Portland cement.

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For many decades, society has understood the important benefits of this slag cement due to its enhanced durability and its improved aesthetic appearance. The fact that its use also reduces the need for Portland cement, and so effectively displaces the high level of CO2 emissions involved in cement-making, has perhaps been overlooked. Only recently, with the advent of green building standards such as LEED and BREEAM, have the carbon advantages of this kind of ‘eco-cement’ been gaining the attention of building designers, gaining recognition in high profile projects such as the Olympic Park and the Shard in London.

7m

tonnes CO2 displaced by using our BF slag in cement worldwide

Whereas the production of traditional Portland cement requires the quarrying and energy-intensive processing of 1.6 tonnes of natural resources per tonne of cement, producing blast furnace slag for cement is simply made from components already in the steelmaking process. With a small amount of processing – granulating, heating and grinding – this industrial residue is turned into a marketable by-product that provides carbon benefits of some 766kg CO2 per tonne of slag[1].

Currently in Europe slag cement makes up around 20% of all cement mixtures – some 20 million tonnes annually. Considering global production volumes of slag cement are around 200 million tonnes annually, and growing each year, the potential to save carbon emissions by avoiding Portland cement production are significant indeed[i].

To maximise the value from this technology, ArcelorMittal have teamed up with Ecocem, the European leader in low-carbon technology for cement, and entered into a joint venture: Ecocem France. Beginning in 2009, with a high-tech installation in Fos Sur Mer, Ecocem France will this year double in size with a new production facility in Dunkirk, bringing the annual capacity up to 1.4 million tonnes of premium quality low-carbon cement.

Ecocem brings their invaluable expertise in the construction market, and the knowledge of where and how slag cement brings particular advantages in use. Cement mixtures containing slag cement are, for example, more durable than ordinary Portland cement since they are resistant to the chemicals that can wear cement out, making it particularly suitable for use in roadbuilding and coastal infrastructure. This makes the lifespan of the concrete longer, and the cost of repairs lower.

ArcelorMittal has been using its know-how to improve its processes even further. By re-using blast furnace gas in the granulation process rather than natural gas, we can reduce the amount of CO2 associated with its production even further, and we’re now installing the facilities to do this in Dunkirk. It’s a great example of how we work with our customers not just to reduce our own emissions but to improve the sustainability impacts of their products.

This partnership in France alone has already reduced CO2 emissions from the cement industry by nearly two million tonnes, and from 2018 onwards will enable us to reduce a further one million tonnes every year. Upscaling our capacity to produce slag cement in the years to come will clearly bring significant benefits, not just for the cement industry but for our ability to achieve global goals of a low-carbon circular economy.

1 A conservative estimate of the carbon footprint of Portland cement is 766kg CO2 per tonne. By contrast, because slag is a by-product of steel, its emissions are already included in the carbon footprint of steel. An estimated 30-40kg CO2 per tonne of slag are needed to convert the slag into slag cement (‘ground granulated blast furnace slag’).

[i] See Allwood and Cullen, Sustainable Materials with both eyes open, UIT Cambridge, 2012, chapter 20.