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Alberto Maccioni’s column: “The reality of steel in Chile and the defense of its quality”

In Chile, steel is present in all economic sectors. All of the activities of the Chilean population are daily related to steel. The steel industry is fundamental for the development of the country and its main consumers are construction and mining, the latter being the country’s main economic sector.

In 2023, apparent steel consumption in Chile reached 2,388,000 tons. Of this consumption, 33% corresponded to steel produced in Chile, and all the rest was imported.. These figures are derived from the quarterly report on apparent steel consumption in Chile, prepared by the Chilean Steel Institute, ICHA.

National steel production focuses mainly on long products, especially reinforcing bars for construction, profiles for the metalworking industry. These products must comply with current regulations. This is not the case of grinding bars for mining and bars for manufacturing steel balls, also for mineral grinding, which are not subject to prior quality certification.

Regardless of the nature of the manufacturing company, whether state, private, national or foreign, steel products must comply with Chilean requirements and regulations. This is not to protect any particular steel company or the Chilean steel industry, it is to protect the population and national development.

In Chile, both steel production and structural design, manufacturing and assembly of structures are governed by strict laws and technical standards that ensure the quality of constructions. This point is of the utmost relevance considering the high seismic condition of our country. Producing, importing and distributing steel in compliance with these strict regulations is absolutely necessary to provide security to the population. For it, Project developers, suppliers, contractors and quality inspectors must be concerned and ensure that the steel being used has the necessary and appropriate certifications.

Unfortunately, and as indicated by studies carried out by ICHA, between 2015 and 2018, Not all the steel that is imported comes with the required certifications and, what is worse, not all those who import steel and market or use it directly require these documents.. This generates uncertainties at the time of construction, since it is not known what the behavior of this material will be when facing, for example, a large earthquake.

Whether produced in Chile or imported, what ICHA wants to highlight and make absolutely clear is that tAll steel that is used in the country, and that is subject to regulation and standards, must comply with them, since the safety of people depends on it in the first instance, and then the operational continuity of our economy.

*The author of the column is president of the Chilean Steel Institute

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