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Steel & Non-Ferrous Recycling An Environmental Cornerstone

Chiro Ideriha - Hanwa American Corporation, New York branch


Mon, 01/31/2022 - 14:00

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Q: How did the company specialize in the trade of steel and recycled metals?

A: Recycled materials represent a fraction of our management of steel products. We acquire many steel products from primary sources as well, including blast furnaces. However, we have developed special kinds of alloys that are very common among volumes of recycled material. We began working on this line of business approximately 75 years ago. In its early days, it represented a very small and marginal percentage of our activities. We were not always able to take this material to the market due to its inconsistencies in quality. However, this segment has grown steadily since then, in part because we are very keen to engage with recycled materials due to the environmental benefits that result from these kinds of operations. I joined this company 40 years ago and even back then, taking meaningful actions to reduce our environmental impact was an important part of our mission. Our specialization in recycled materials comes from understanding the great reduction in emissions and waste that can be achieved by focusing on this segment of the business, which is a segment in our portfolio that has grown significantly over time. 

Q: What are the main obstacles in the development of steel recycling in Mexico? 

A: Scrap steel recycling is still a complicated business in Mexico. It has a long way to go in terms of available infrastructure and resources, especially due to the high volume of steel imported by Mexico, primarily from the US. The decommissioning of major infrastructure needs to happen earlier and more diligently so that scrap metal can be available for recycling. 

Mexico continues to be an important manufacturer of domestic steel products and, as such, its steel manufacturing pipeline needs to become more agile to satisfy an increasing percentage of this demand. The US began exporting its scrap metal for recycling much earlier than Mexico, so it has an advantage over Mexico regarding the sophistication of its recycling industry, but we believe that Mexico is on the road to achieving that sophistication. 

Q: How did the pandemic change the steel and non ferrous metal market?

A: Based on our activities in Mexico and other countries, we have not seen steel consumption and steel product demand affected significantly by the pandemic. In Mexico, we have seen demand for steel products continue to increase steadily throughout this period. This is a trend that has become more generalized in developing countries; steel consumption is growing at a reliable rate every year. Our supply lines have increased in quantity, and they will continue to do so since we do not expect affectations for this market. In the US, there is an increasing need for supply and we are positioning ourselves to satisfy that demand.

Q: How would you describe the impact of the USMCA on steel markets?

A: It has been challenging.  New US anti-dumping taxes and regulations have generated a significant impact in the way we manage our business in the US and Mexico. This is a major factor that remains out of our control, we are focusing our efforts to offer solutions to our customers.  We understand the role of these anti-dumping measures, and some of them can even be effective at fulfilling certain trade and market objectives. 

Q: What are the main differentiators of the company and the reasons to consider these the best options?

A: Hanwa supplies a wide range of products, including steel, non-ferrous metals, food, fuel, chemicals, lumber, machinery and many other items, to an equally diverse range of customers. We are one of the first companies in Japan to establish a non-ferrous metals and specialty metals recycling business. Our operations involve mainly aluminum, copper, zinc, lead, stainless steel, precious resources and other metals where demand is substantial in Japan. 

Q: What is Hanwa’s presence in the mining business and scrap recycling business in Mexico?

A: Hanwa acts as a trading house between refineries and mining companies. We have traded concentrate and intermediate products from mining, smelter, refinery all over the world including Mexico. Our main destination has been Japan as well as other Asian countries. We have already had some partners working with us in Mexico. For instance, the Bacanora Lithium project in Sonora, Mexico is one of our representative projects.

We expect production of Lithium Carbonate and Hydroxide in coming years to supply mainly to Electronic Vehicle industries. For ferrous, non ferrous, Electronics scrap recycling, we also work with great partners here in Mexico.

Since our establishment, we have focused our efforts on serving our customers as "distribution specialists." We use specialized skills and an extensive service network to meet customer's needs with precisely the right solutions.


Hanwa is a Japanese trading house that has been in operation since 1947. The company supplies steel, metals and alloys, food, bunker fuel, lumber and several other items.

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