BRIEFS Australia ahead
AUSTRALIA enjoys competitive advantages in the steel-making industry, BlueScope Steel has told federal parliament’s House Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, which has been holding an inquiry into the state of Australia’s manufacturing sector.
It cited Australia’s ready access to inputs, high quality iron ore, extensive metallurgical deposits and competitive energy supplies, all of which go into blast furnace steel.
Even though populous nations such as China and India had lower labour costs, the relative rise of raw material costs meant labour had become a less important factor.
According to BlueScope, raw materials are now about 65 per cent of a steelmaker’s costs whereas once they were about 25 per cent.
‘‘ Steelmakers in countries such as China, with low labour costs but without local deposits of high-quality iron ore, are seeing their relative competitiveness reduced by these factors,’’ BlueScope said..
True cost of rust unknown
BECAUSE the economic cost of corrosion was last estimated more than 20 years ago, the Australasian Corrosion Association is trying to drum up support for fresh research.
ACA president Fred Salome says research in the 1980s estimated that the cost of corrosion to the Australian economy was about 2 per cent per annum, or $2 billion at the time. According to Salome, these figures are still being widely cited, even though there is no guarantee they remain accurate.
He said a 2002 US estimate of the direct costs of corrosion came in at 3.1 per cent of that country’s GDP. By assuming the same relative cost in the Australian scene, he calculated corrosion costs here would come to about $28 billion a year.
‘‘ Of course, these numbers don’t stand close scrutiny, and what we really need is a rigorous and accurate assessment of the cost of corrosion, the size of our [corrosion prevention] industry and a means for measuring our performance,’’ he said.
Lost production and opportunity costs formed a large part of the overall cost of corrosion, he said.
The ACA will be touring a marine corrosion seminar around Australia’s capital cities next month. Speakers will look at corrosion control in ships, bridges, marinas, pipelines, desalination plants and other structures in marine environments.
Sydney architects chosen
SYDNEY-based architectural firm Collins and Turner has been short-listed as a finalist in an international sustainable housing design competition being run by the housing-steel promotion program Living Steel. Collins and Turner is one of six firms chosen to submit final designs for housing in Brazil.
According to Living Steel, interest in the competition came from more than 1100 entrants across 88 countries.