World Coal Association
World Coal Association World Coal Association

Coal & Steel Statistics

Steel Production

Global steel production is dependent on coal – around 70% of total global steel production relies directly on inputs of coal. Around 1.2 billion tonnes of coal are used in global steel production, which is around 15% of total coal consumption worldwide.

Crude Steel Production


Top Ten Steel Producers (2013)

PR China779MtSouth Korea66Mt


Currently almost 70% of global steel is produced in Basic Oxygen Furnaces (BOF). Coking coal is converted to coke, which is then used in the blast furnace to smelt iron ore. The resulting molten iron is then taken to the BOF, where steel scrap and limestone are added. A stream of high purity oxygen is blown through the molten bath to remove impurities, leaving almost pure liquid steel.

About 770 kg of coal is required to produce 1 tonne of steel in this production route.

A further 28% of steel is produced in Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF); much of the electricity used in this process is generated from coal-fired power stations.

About 150 kg of coal is required to produce 1 tonne of steel in Electric Arc Furnaces.

Steel Use

There was a 65% increase in steel use worldwide between 2003 and 2013. Today most steel is used in China - 47.3%, in comparison to only 27.3% in 2002.

Top Users of Steel (2013)

PR China646MtRussia42Mt
South Korea54MtItaly22Mt

Per Capita Use of Steel (2013)

Per capita use of steel varies significantly around the world (kg per capita):

South Korea1057kgGermany460kg
Chinese Taipei793kgCanada425kg
Czech Republic547kgTurkey415kg

Top Coking Coal Exporters (2013e)

Russia22MtCzech Republic2Mt
Mongolia15MtNew Zealand2Mt

Major Coking Coal Importers (2013e)

PR China77MtBrazil11Mt
India38MtChinese Taipei7Mt
Korea31MtUnited Kingdom6Mt

Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI)

A technology for injecting coal directly into the blast furnaces. One tonne of PCI coal used for steel production displaces about 1.4 tonnes of coking coal. Coals used for pulverised coal injection into blast furnaces have more narrowly defined qualities than steam coal used in electricity generation.

Steel Recycling

Steel is 100% recyclable, with some 450Mt of recycled steel consumed in 2004. The BOF process uses up to 30% recycled steel (scrap) and around 90-100% is used in EAF production.

Sources: IEA & World Steel Association
(Mt - million tonnes / e - estimated)

September 2014

Read more on the WCA blog Extract