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China: Until the adoption of her five year plan in 1953, China had only insignificant iron and steel manufacturing on modern line. She had modern steel plants in Anshan of Manchuria and a few small plants in Shanghai, Hankow (in Yangtze valley) and Yangchuan (in Shansi).
China is really rich in coal and alloy metals, and most of her coals coking coal. Her reserve of iron-ore is also big enough to support a great iron and steel industry. China aims at developing the country with steel 'and machines. Spectacular targets have been set up for energy resources and for iron and steel including machine-building industries. Through plans the country has tremendously raised her production within a rather short span of time. In 1985 China produced 36.5 million tons of pig-iron and ferro-alloy and 34 million tons of crude steel This development was possible (a) by rebuilding and expanding old plants, (b) by developing old and new mining centres, (c) by the construction and extension of transportation routes, specially railways, and (d) by Russian aid at the initial stage.
China has coal in almost all her provinces but the larger deposits lie in the North, in Manchuria, Shansi, Shensi, Honan and Shuntung. Nearly half of her iron-ore lies again in Manchuria; and other important deposits are in Shansi, Shantung and the lower Yangtze valley. Thus in any metallurgical scheme, these areas, namely, Manchuria, Shansi, Shantung and the lower Yangtze valley from Hankow to Shanghai must play the most significant part.
Manchuria: The largest steel plant of China Sat Anshan. Originally, it was developed by the Japanese. Iron-ore (averaging 35% metal) and limestone are available close to the plants in Anshan. Steam coal is obtained from Fushun, to the northeast of Anshan, and coking coal is obtained from Penshihu. Both these centres are lying within a distance of one hundred miles from Anshan. Recent discovery of Fushin coal deposits towards the west has further strengthen position of Anshan.
Shansi: Yangchuan is an old iron and steel centre in Shansi. Taiyuan has been developed as a major iron and steel centre with a new steel rolling mill and a new heavy machine building plant. Both coal and iron-ore are available in the same province.
The Lower Yangtze Valley: Supported by the iron-ore deposits in the mid-Yangtze valley, Hankow and Shanghai are the old centres with blast furnaces. Near Hankow a major steel plant has been developed at Hanyang. Excellent coking coal comes from Pinghsiang and iron ore conies from Tayeh. Both these mining centres are lying at short distance size. In the upper Yangtze valley at Chungking in Szechwan, a plant has been developed for manufacturing rail road rails. Shanghai has also ship building yards.
Other Centres: Paotou in Suiyan has been mentioned as a plant site based on deposits of rich self-fluxing ore of Pai Yun Shan towards the north. In Shantung, coal of Poshan andiron-ore of Chinling Chen are in close proximity. Iron and steel plants have developed in Chinling Chen.
In China coal is more easily available, but availability of iron-ore is a difficult problem. It is interesting to note that China's steel plants are mostly localized on or near iron-ore deposits.
Next: China's industrial regions