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The development history and thinking of China's steel industry

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  Zhang Guobao, former deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, chairman of the Expert Committee of the National Energy Administration
  Zhang Guobao once took charge of industry, participated in the decision-making, approval, and acceptance of many major steel projects, and devoted a lot of efforts to promoting the localization of major steel equipment. The construction of many major steel projects took place during this period. At the same time, he was a witness to the construction of many major steel projects and had a deep love relationship with the steel industry.
  As a personal experience, Zhang Guobao described the second and third phases of Baosteel's construction, the relocation of Shougang, the Anshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. and the Bayuquan Iron and Steel Project, Maanshan New District, Handan Iron and Steel New District, Taigang Stainless, Jiugang Stainless Steel, Baotou Steel, Panzhihua Iron and Steel, Northeast Special Steel, and Baosteel's restructuring of Guangdong's steel industry, decision-making Baosteel Zhanjiang project, WISCO Fangchenggang project and other major projects, as well as the little-known story behind the promotion of localization of equipment, and the structural adjustment, innovation drive and resolution of China's steel industry Major issues such as overcapacity and ”going out“ have provided insights and reflections.
  This article is taken from: China Metallurgical News, August 27, 2015, 01 edition.
  Looking back at the development of China's steel industry since the 1990s, it can be seen from the crude steel output index that its development speed is fast: the annual output of crude steel exceeded 100 million tons in 1996, and exceeded 200 million tons in 2003. The annual increase of 100 million tons, the crude steel output in 2014 reached 823 million tons. In the history of the development of the steel industry, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Japan's steel output have reached an annual output of more than 100 million tons, but it has not reached 200 million tons. At the same time of rapid development, China's steel industry is currently facing a series of major challenges such as severe overcapacity. I have participated in the decision-making and approval of many steel-related projects and have deep feelings for China's steel industry. I think that reviewing the development of China's steel industry, there are many major issues worthy of serious consideration.
  The rise of big powers, the steel industry is indispensable
  Although, in recent years, emerging industries such as the Internet and virtual economy have developed rapidly, they have become a sunrise industry, and traditional industries such as steel seem to be the sunset industry. But steel is like food. It is not because the development of new industries has become dispensable. On the contrary, steel and food are not emerging industries, but they are evergreen industries. They can't be separated at any time. Steel is still the most developed in the national economy. Important basic raw materials. China's steel industry has made great contributions to supporting the rapid development of the national economy.
  Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially since the reform and opening up, China's industry has continued to develop rapidly and has built a complete, independent and complete industrial system. Undoubtedly, China has become a big manufacturing country, which has effectively promoted the process of industrialization and modernization in China, significantly enhanced its overall national strength and supported the status of a world power. It must be noted that China has become a big manufacturing country, and the steel industry has played an important role. The steel industry has played a great role in supporting and promoting the defense industry, the petroleum industry, the shipbuilding industry, the construction industry, and the equipment manufacturing industry.
  Without the support of the steel industry, China's shipbuilding industry cannot occupy such a large proportion in the world.
  In 2003, I wrote a report to the central leadership and proposed to build China into the world's largest shipbuilding country. In 2010, China's ship completion volume reached 65.6 million DWT, accounting for 43.6% of the world shipbuilding market completion, ranking first in the world. In 1975, China's shipbuilding industry and South Korea accounted for only 1% of the world, Japan accounted for 50%, and Europe accounted for 43%.
  Of course, from the technical content point of view, China's shipbuilding industry still has a gap with South Korea, but if we calculate the total tonnage according to the technical content, China has now surpassed South Korea, which has driven a lot of steel consumption. If China does not have such a strong shipbuilding capability, aircraft carriers and guided missile destroyers will not be able to talk about it. These are inseparable from the steel industry.
  It is understood that in the first 15 years of the 21st century, China produced about 7 billion tons of steel. Without these 7 billion tons of steel, how can we build tall buildings, criss-crossing railways and highways? Steel, like hard bones, strongly supports the rise of our country.
  Chairman Mao Zedong's dream of an important powerhouse is to build a strong steel industry. At that time, he proposed the slogan of steel as the key, steel marshals, and Angang's constitution. The main content of the ”Great Leap Forward“ in 1958 was also to strive to reach an annual output of 10.7 million tons of steel, and to launch a large-scale steel movement in the country. In this process, due to failure to act according to economic laws, it also caused many losses.
  Why does Chairman Mao attach so much importance to the steel industry? Because steel is the foundation of industrialization and the basis for realizing the dream of a strong nation in the Chinese nation. China has suffered humiliation in modern history. One important reason is that our science and technology are backward and there is no modern industry. After the failure of the Opium War, people of insight engaged in the Westernization Movement, and Zhang Zhidong founded the Hanyang Iron Works to establish a very weak steel industry. During the eight years of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Japan's annual average steel output reached more than 5 million tons, while China's annual average is only about 5,000 tons. Japan's steel output is about 1,000 times that of China, and its mechanical processing capacity is already strong. The aircraft carrier and the zero-type fighter plane, the Chinese people are fighting the Japanese aggressors with flesh and blood, because the weapons and equipment and other conditions of our country's guns and bullets cannot be compared with Japan. So at that time, Chairman Mao wanted to develop the steel industry, which makes sense. When New China was founded in 1949, China had only 158,000 tons of steel. In 1958, our slogan was 10.7 million tons of steel. At that time, I was still in high school, and I also participated in the large-scale steelmaking, to build small blast furnaces, and to build refractory brick factories. The scar left by the iron ore in your hands while knocking iron ore is still there. However, in 1958, the sale of iron in the shabu-shabu did not reach 10.7 million tons. It reached 13 million tons in 1959, some of which were made from small blast furnaces and were unqualified products. In the next 20 years, the steel industry developed slowly. Before the construction of Baosteel, the national steel output was less than 30 million tons. Through reform and opening up, Baosteel Construction was put into production, and the quality and quantity of China's steel industry increased rapidly. The level of equipment technology has reached a big step, and it has grown into the world's largest producer. The steel industry is constantly adjusting and improving with the changes of the times.
  Baosteel Construction, a milestone in China's steel industry
  After the reform and opening up, the biggest event in China's steel industry is the construction of Baosteel. It can be said that the completion and commissioning of Baosteel not only made China's steel industry, but also made the comprehensive strength of the industry a big step.
  I was the director of the National Acceptance Committee of Baosteel Phase III Project. Baosteel was built for 22 years. Construction began in 1978, and a section was stopped in the middle. Later, it was resumed and it was divided into three phases. The final investment in the third phase was 62 billion yuan, the largest industrial investment project in China since the founding of New China.
  I always believe that Baosteel's construction has a milestone significance in China's modernization construction, and the process is very difficult. In the 1980s, when Baosteel was suspended, Japan's equipment supply company demanded compensation from China, while Chinese companies believed that Japanese companies were not demanding compensation. Therefore, when Baosteel resumed construction, it ”knocked“ Japan and changed the 2050mm hot strip mill to Germany. Equipment, about $400 million, this is not a small order. Later, Japan sent a large delegation to Beijing to discuss the matter. Since I speak Japanese, I will give a translation to the deputy director Zhao Dongwan who was responsible for this work at that time. The Japanese side apologized to us and asked for an opportunity for Japan. We have compiled a report to the Central Committee, after all, Japan's Nippon Steel has helped China build Baosteel. The central government considered the 1900 mm slab caster of Kobe Steel in Japan, and the 2050 mm hot rolling mill and the 2030 mm cold rolling mill were all German equipment.
  Baosteel Construction has provided a good supporting project for the localization of China's steel equipment. All core equipment of Baosteel Phase I is basically imported, only about 12% of the corner structural parts are made in China; in the second phase, it is changed to cooperative manufacturing, and the localization rate is greatly improved; to the third period, the localization rate of equipment Up to 80%. With the experience of Baosteel, and later like the transformation of Baotou Steel, the transformation of Panzhihua Iron and Steel, and the construction of Caofeidian, China's steel equipment has basically achieved localization. The overall level of the steel industry has caught up with the international advanced level.
  Equipment upgrade, China's steel industry catch up
  China's steel equipment is constantly improving. In the 1970s and 1980s, the typical image of steel workers was wearing a cap, a large iron bra, and a protective goggle. It was operated in front of the steelmaking furnace and the steel flower was splashed. It felt very glorious. In fact, it is a backward open hearth, working conditions are very difficult, high energy consumption, low efficiency and poor quality. During my tenure as deputy director of the Development and Reform Commission, there were still a large number of open furnaces. The former Ministry of Metallurgy proposed that the outdated equipment should be eliminated. We actively promoted that the open hearth furnace, the blast furnace below 300 cubic meters, and the converter below 30 tons have been gradually eliminated and replaced with 4000. Cubic meters and even 5000 cubic meters of blast furnaces, slab continuous casting and rolling, refining furnaces and other equipment to reach the world's advanced level. In the early stage of reform and opening up, even the billet continuous casting machine in China could not be produced, and it was necessary to introduce equipment and technology from abroad; mining equipment was also extremely backward, and the largest can only produce 4 cubic meters of excavators, and electric wheeled vehicles could not be produced. Now, 56 cubic meters of large power shovel and 320 tons of electric wheeled vehicles have been produced. In the 1980s, one of the twelve complete sets of equipment that was listed in the State Council's Major Equipment Office was related to the steel industry: one set is Baosteel's complete equipment, including 2050 mm hot strip mill and 1900 mm slab caster. , 2030mm cold rolling mill, etc.; the other is a 10 million tons of open pit mine equipment, I call it ”half set“ because the 10 million tons of open pit mine equipment can also be used in coal mines, non-ferrous metal mines, The main content of equipment research is 16 cubic meters, 23 cubic meters of electric shovel, 108 tons, 154 tons of electric wheeled vehicles.
  Since the construction of Baosteel, China's metallurgical equipment has been continuously innovated and its manufacturing capacity has been continuously enhanced. Most of the mills designed by the world's strongest metallurgical equipment design and manufacturing company, SMS and Demark, Germany, are also subcontracted to China's first-class enterprises. We also tried some advanced processes and equipment. For example, Taiyuan Jianshan Iron Mine was the first in China to be transported by pipeline, and was subsequently adopted in Dahongshan, Yunnan. Advanced equipment is very important to improve the technical level of China's steel industry. It is precisely with advanced equipment that labor productivity is increased, energy consumption and material consumption are greatly reduced, and the quality of products can be improved, and advanced technologies and products can be developed. At present, China's steel comprehensive price index is only 60% of 1994 in the case of a significant increase in energy prices, raw material prices, and labor costs. Without advanced technology and equipment, many companies simply cannot support it.
  Structural adjustment, related to the survival of enterprises
  Regarding the structural adjustment of China's steel industry, I have experienced several major iron and steel enterprise restructuring and construction events. Although the process is tortuous, it is worth learning and thinking.
  China's steel industry used to rely on large cities to develop, and mainly concentrated in provincial capital cities. With the continuous expansion of urban functions, steel mills have become one of the city's pollution sources, and have a great impact on the local environment. For example, Shougang, the previous position of the upper wind, the early Beijing smog has not been widely concerned as it is today, but Beijing water has been quite tight, Shougang has a great impact on the Beijing environment, so the country hopes to adjust, for the first time The issue of the relocation of Shougang was raised.
  Shougang is one of the earliest enterprises in China to enter the annual output of 10 million tons of grade steel. It has a very important position in the history of China's steel industry development, whether it is political, economic or technical. Moving away from Beijing, the difficulty can be imagined. In addition, Shougang also involves employment of about 100,000 people and Beijing's 2 billion yuan in tax revenue. Therefore, in many respects, everyone knows inconsistency. I suggest relocation. I propose that SDB headquarters and scientific research and sales of these non-polluting departments can continue to stay in Beijing, and some equipment manufacturing can also be left untouched to reduce the difficulty of relocation. It mainly removes the pollution-intensive links of blast furnace ironmaking and converter steelmaking. However, at the time, for various reasons, it was mainly the inconsistency or the shelving. Later, because Beijing bid for the 2008 Olympic Games, everyone's understanding of environmental protection changed, and they unified their thinking and made up their minds to move Shougang. I was the deputy head of the Shougang Relocation Leading Group. At that time, I took care of some requirements of Beijing and Shougang, and reduced the resistance to relocation as much as possible. Some measures were taken. For example, in the construction of a cold rolling mill in Shunyi, a part of the production capacity can be reserved, and some employment can be resettled and some taxes can be retained. The state also took some funds to support the relocation of Shougang. After Shougang moved to Caofeidian, the National Development and Reform Commission agreed to negotiate the joint venture between Shougang and Tangshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., which is now the Shougang Jingtang Iron and Steel Company.
  Baosteel's restructuring of the Guangdong steel industry is much more complicated than the relocation of Shougang. Baosteel Group has long had plans to establish a coastal steel base, and Guangdong Province is the fastest-growing province since the reform and opening up. Foreign steel accounts for 80% of the total steel demand in Guangdong Province. Guangdong provincial leaders and local steel enterprises Yangang and Guangzhou Steel I hope to further expand production capacity. Guangzhou Iron and Steel is not a big steel mill in the country, but its influence in Guangdong Province, especially in Guangzhou, was great. At that time, the steel industry had already experienced overcapacity, and it was urgent to increase industrial concentration. If the Zhanjiang base was newly built, it would have to eliminate backward production capacity and carry out equal replacement, that is, shut down Guangzhou Iron and Steel, Zhujiang Steel Plant, and reorganize Handan Iron and Steel, and reorganize it by Baosteel. Guangdong's steel industry in the province, which makes many people emotionally unacceptable. However, only reorganization can develop. After a long period of negotiation, Baosteel agreed to fund the restructuring and the local government was responsible for the resettlement. The thermal processing of Guangzhou Iron and Steel and Zhugang were all shut down and turned into steel trade enterprises. The two major steel mills shut down about 5 million tons of production capacity, together with other small steel production capacity, totaling about 10 million tons, and completed the goal of equal replacement of compressed capacity in the construction of Baosteel Zhanjiang Base.
  While Baosteel reorganized the Guangdong steel industry, WISCO also hopes to build a steel base along the coast of Guangxi. Otherwise, WISCO is in the middle. It is difficult to compete with coastal steel mills for the transportation cost of imported iron ore. Guangxi Province also proposes to build modern steel. Base requirements. The Zhanjiang base of Baosteel and the Fangchenggang base of WISCO are intertwined, and only one of them can't be said. In the case of overcapacity, it is more difficult to make decisions. Therefore, we proposed to let WISCO to reorganize Guangxi Iron and Steel, which involves structural adjustment of the regional layout. In the past, many steel plants were built on iron ore resources; now, 80% of China's iron ore is imported from abroad, and inland and coastal steel mills have much higher transportation costs. Therefore, steel companies hope to find them on the coast. New production base. So I talked with the leaders of WISCO and suggested that part of the steel production capacity in Hubei Province be eliminated. At the same time, the adjustment of Liugang was also taken into account. In terms of structural adjustment, I believe that by building a new base, we will eliminate small backward production capacity and achieve the goal of optimizing industrial structure.
  Industrial transformation and structural adjustment are easy to say, but it is very difficult to do. After eliminating backward production capacity and reshuffling the regional layout, as a labor-intensive and industrial-driven metallurgical industry, a large number of employees need to be resettled. For example, Baosteel reorganized Shanggang. At that time, Baosteel had only 20,000 people. It was very difficult to solve the employment problem of about 200,000 steel workers from Shanghai No. 1 Plant to No. 10 Plant. But later, I still took this step firmly. Baosteel reorganized the original old factory, some specialize in stainless steel, and some changed to produce plates.
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