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Steel plant "Phoenix"

Steel plant "Phoenix"
Source: dpa

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Giant Chinese take-away from Dortmund

Much more than just scrap iron: two decommissioned steelworks in Dortmund are dismantled and taken to Zhangjiang.

About a thousand workers are flown in specially from China. Their assignment? To pull down two old Dortmund steel plants, the Westfalenhütte and Phoenix, and get all the pieces ready for shipping to Zhangjiang, a town on the Yangtse Delta in the rapidly industrialising "Middle Kingdom". The plan is to produce steel as soon as possible for Chinese automobiles. Back home, two thousand workers are already laying the foundations for the new steel mill.

For weeks the sparks illuminate the Dortmund factory as grinders and welders cut up the colossus into its component parts. In total, more than 250,000 tonnes of steel are hoisted onto trucks and low-loaders by the Chinese work brigades, all dressed in blue overalls. The consignments are then taken down the Dortmund-Ems Canal to Antwerp, loaded onto container ships and sent round the world. The Westfalenhütte – but with a new name – is expected to produce steel again in China as early as 2004.

The Ruhr region hasn't witnessed such a massive industrial removal since the end of World War Two.

Dirk Bitzer

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