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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2006
16 www.metals.rala.com.au AsianFoundryOverview The Challenges Ahead: ■ At about 20 m tonnes of castings a year and with a 300 + million tonnes of crude steel output, China is one of the highest producers of energy and the consumer also in the global industrial world. China, today, is estimated to produce about 1.8 billion tonnes of standard coal, and consume lump sum energy equivalent to about 2.0 b tonnes of standard coal. Reduction of SO2 emissions and emphasis for cleaner, renewable energies are the major tasks. This will increase future costs for capital investments and also increase the cost of operations for both the existing and newer business enterprises. ■ Oil price and its availability. ■ Power supply and its cost through national grid integration ■ Waste water treatment - facility and local government and the entrepreneur's attitude. Even in well governed cities of Shanghai and Jiangsu regions there are a number of industries that ought to be fined, a few to be closed for causing severe damage to the local air and water qualities, unfortunately these enterprises are also models for paying high taxes and some of them are good source for employment among local businesses. ■ Iron ore source and its costs and therefore its impact on pig iron. ■ Copper, zinc and nickel source and unchecked price hikes. China consumes about 5 million tonnes of copper still growing, the biggest in the world. ■ Sand quality and its source limitations owing to costs and inland transport constraints. ■ Deforestation and cost increases for good quality wooden pattern material. ■ Younger and better-educated talent shying away from employment from hot metal processing and casting industries. Increased job opportunities in IT, service legal, management and professional jobs in banks, insurance, fashion and trading sectors will further make it difficult for foundries. The future is challenging for the Chinese foundry industry but it has also a very highly dedicated, well-developed supply chain capability to meet the growing castings consumption for internally driven manufacturing industries. The local government holds it in high esteem, is committed to it, as the foundry industry currently employing in excess of 1 million people is also a major source of employment for the growing number of rural youth. A green activist aware of China's need for environmental sustainability.