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Ground Zero steel China-bound

BEIJING, China -- China's biggest steel firm says it will receive its first shipment of scrap metal from the World Trade Center wreckage soon and turn it into steel plates -- not, as some newspaper reports had suggested, souvenirs.

Chinese state newspapers had earlier reported that Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp. planned to turn 50,000 tons of Ground Zero steel into souvenirs -- including models of the twin towers.

The WTC towers dominated the New York skyline before two hijacked passengers slammed into them on September 11, triggering their collapse.

The towers' steel outer skeleton was formed of steel beams up to two feet thick.

Workers have been whittling away at the ruins since then, with hundreds of trucks carrying rubble out of the crater each day.

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But a company spokesman told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that the shipment would not be treated any differently from ordinary purchases of scrap, and would be turned into steel plates.

The Beijing Youth Daily, one of the newspapers to report the purported souvenir plan, said Baosteel was one of the first companies in the world to contact the United States about the scrap and consequently made a good deal.

It bought 50,000 tons of steel scrap at a price of "less than $120 per ton," the newspaper quoted Baosteel executives as saying. It did not give an exact price figure.

The steel is to be baled into large cubes for shipping, and could be used to make office furniture and filing cabinets.

India scrap dealers have already ordered four steel consignments.

Two 33,000-ton consignments have already arrived in the southern port of Madras, a third is on its way and a fourth would arrive soon at the west coast port of Kandla.

The scrap was bought at $120 per ton and is to be recycled into ingots to be sold to various industries, including construction.


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