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The Uralian iron and steel industry Denike, Clifford Charles Eric

Abstract

This study examines the Uralian iron and steel industry distribution, its changes through time and the reasons for these changes. At present, this is one of the important iron and steel producing regions in the world. At one time it was the most important. In order to obtain the information on which to base this study, it was necessary to resort mainly to published materials, largely Soviet. The American Iron and Steel Institute also supplied some non-published material. In order to collect the published materials it was necessary to make use of the libraries of the University of British Columbia the University of Washington and the Geographical Branch of the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys in Ottawa. Other Ottawa libraries, the personal collections of Dr. Hooson and Dr. Jackson, various bookstores, notably Kamkin's bookstore in Washington, D. C, the bookstore at the United Nations in New York and Davis bookstore in Montreal, were also very useful. The primary problem when conducting a study of this nature is the collecting of sufficient relevant materials for a balanced appraisal of the phenomena being examined. A knowledge of Russian is mandatory and an acquaintance with French is also useful. The information gathered was organized into tables and plotted on maps. These bodies of data were then described and analyzed. Analysis of the Uralian iron and steel industry indicated that this industry was initially essentially located on the iron ore supply. But none of the major plants are at present located on iron ore resources that are large enough to amortize the plant. Also the major plants are on the whole, based on low quality ores. The major economic advantage of the Uralian iron and steel industry production is its association with the Eastern coal supplies. But this advantage is common to all Eastern plants. Expansion at Magnitogorsk will result in more expensive production than the construction of new plants would, even though Magnitogorsk is the most efficient Uralian plant. The Urals is well located for the introduction of natural gas into its metallurgy. This is proceeding. Nevertheless, the use of natural gas is only a partial solution to the fuel problem because it can not completely replace coke. Therefore, the Urals will have to continue bringing in coking coal over great distances. The de-emphasis of iron and steel announced in 1962 will help the Urals to perpetuate its present status as a producer (it supplies about one-third of the Soviet production). On the other hand, no significant increase in its relative importance can be expected. The bulk of the Uralian iron and steel production is located in the Eastern Urals, more particularly in the South Eastern Urals. In 1956, the three largest plants: Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk in the South Eastern Urals, and Nizhne Tagil'sk in the Central Urals produced 77 per cent of the Uralian pig iron and 67 per cent of the steel smelted. This has not significantly changed subsequently. Considerable expansion, based on Kachkanar ores, is planned for Nizhne Tagil'sk. But, all things considered, most of the expansion will be located at the major South Uralian plants.

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