Steel industry

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The steel industry is a branch of the economy that belongs to heavy industry and deals with the production of steel and, in part, the distribution of the steel produced. Many steel producing companies are now internationally linked. This is a relatively new development that only started with the steel crisis of the 1980s. Before that, the steel industry was largely a national affair, although the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 laid the foundation for the internationalization of the steel industry. Today the German steel industry is primarily located in the Ruhr area and Saarland as well as plants in Bremen , Eisenhüttenstadt and Salzgitter .

The steel industry developed as an economic branch from around the second half of the 19th century, when the production of steel was relocated from small forges and hammer mills to ironworks as part of the industrial revolution due to technical progress and the application of new technologies . This decisively advanced industrialization . The steel industry is still an important economic factor today .

The steel industry produces preliminary products (e.g. hot rolled wide strip, forgings, sheet metal , rails , long products, wire , tubes ) that are further processed into end products .

In 2012 the steel industry had a worldwide turnover of 800 billion dollars and employed 8 million people. Due to the modern production processes (see integrated iron and steel works ), the distinction within the individual steel companies between iron smelting and actual steel production is hardly possible.

The German steel industry

In Germany around 85,000 people work in steel companies. The largest companies and most important locations include:

The British steel industry

The metal industry was one of the driving forces behind industrialization in Britain. Until well into the 20th century, many small smelters produced the steel; In 1945 there were still fifty steel mills in Ebbw Vale in Wales. During the First World War, the industry was of great importance for war production. During the Second World War, the state controlled steel production, as well as after. In 1967 the government combined ninety percent of production (14 companies with 268,500 people) under the umbrella of British Steel (BS).

BS closed outdated, small steelworks and concentrated production on five locations. This redevelopment met with fierce opposition: in 1980 the workers fought back in a 13-week strike - ultimately unsuccessful; Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher , who has been in office since 1979, relied on privatization. At the end of the 1980s, the company was profitable again, and the workforce had shrunk to less than half. In 1988 the Thatcher government privatized British Steel.

In 1999 British Steel and the Dutch company Hoogovens merged to form Corus . The reality was sobering: three years and three CEOs later, the group was on the brink. A merger with the Brazilian CSN failed. Under the leadership of Philippe Varin and through further job cuts, Corus got on its feet. The share price increased tenfold.

In 2005, Varin and Chairman Jim Leng began looking for a partner from an emerging market . They were looking for access to iron ore, crude steel and new markets. It turned out that Corus would only be a junior partner. Many plants - especially the British ones - were not sufficiently internationally competitive. In February 2007 it was announced that the Tata Group (based in Mumbai, India) would take over Corus. At the time, Corus employed 24,000 people in four locations across the UK.

The Luxembourg steel industry

There are large minette deposits in the south of Luxembourg and in neighboring Lorraine . They are estimated to total six billion tons; in the meantime (after about 150 years of ore mining) half of it should have been mined. The high phosphorus content of the minette prevented industrial mining for a long time; it then started relatively late after the introduction of the Thomas process .

After the First World War, Belgium and Luxembourg joined the Union Economique Belgo-Luxembourgeoise (UEBL) (according to the historian Charles Barthel, Luxembourg was forced to do so).

The ore production peak was reached in 1960 with 62 million tons in France and six million tons in Luxembourg. However, the relatively low iron content meant that Lorraine Minette ore was successively replaced by more highly concentrated imported ores (with an iron content of around 60%). As a result, more and more mines were shut down. The last mine in Luxembourg ( Differdange ) closed in 1981, the last in France at Audun-le-Tiche in the Moselle department in 1997.

In 1911 the company ARBED ( acronym for Aciéries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange , German "United Steelworks Burbach-Eich-Dudelange") was created through a merger . The oldest of the merging companies was founded in 1882.

In order to guarantee the supply of coke required for steel production, ARBED signed an interest agreement in 1913 with the Eschweiler Mining Association (EBV). The close cooperation between ARBED and EBV only ended with the takeover of the EBV-Zeche Westfalen in Ahlen by Ruhrkohle AG in 1993.

In 2001, ARBED merged with Aceralia and Usinor to form Arcelor , which has since been merged into ArcelorMittal .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Steel industry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. ^ Oskar Stillich : Iron and steel industry . Economic research in the field of large-scale industrial enterprise Volume 1; Publisher Franz Siemeroth, Berlin 1904
  2. Archived copy ( Memento of the original dated December 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Chronicle: The decline of the British steel industry , accessed on March 3, 2014
  5. Emile Mayrisch et la question du contingent lorrain-luxembourgeois (1925) ( Memento of the original from December 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 276 kB), page 1 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /