The World Bank
The World Bank

Mini Steel Mills Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

Mini steel mills normally use the electric arc furnace (EAF) to produce steel from returned steel, scrap, and direct reduced iron. EAF is a batch process with a cycle time of about two to three hours. Since the process uses scrap metal instead of molten iron, coke-making and iron-making operations are eliminated. EAFs can economically serve small, local markets.

Further processing of steel can include continuous casting, hot rolling and forming, cold rolling, wire drawing, coating, and pickling. The continuous casting process bypasses several steps of the conventional ingot teeming process by casting steel directly into semifinished shapes. The casting, rolling, and steel finishing processes are also used in iron and steel manufacturing. Hot steel is transformed in size and shape through a series of hot rolling and forming steps to manufacture semifinished and finished steel products. The hot rolling process consists of slabheating (as well as billet and bloom), rolling, and forming operations. Several types of hot forming mills (primary, section, flat, pipe and tube, wire, rebar, and profile) manufacture a variety of steel products.

For the manufacture of a very thin strip or a strip with a high-quality finish, cold rolling must follow the hot rolling operations. Lubricants emulsified in water are usually used to achieve high surface quality and to prevent overheating of the product.Wire drawing includes heat treatment of rods, cleaning, and sometimes coating. Water, oil, or lead baths are used for cooling and to impart desired features.

To prepare the steel for cold rolling or drawing, acid pickling is performed to chemically remove oxides and scale from the surface of the steel through use of inorganic acid water solutions. Mixed acids (nitric and hydrofluoric) are used for stainless steel pickling; sulfuric or hydrochloric acid is used for other steels. Other methods for removing scale include salt pickling, electrolytic pickling, and blasting; blasting is environmentally desirable, where feasible.

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