Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the material wealth and power of a nation has depended largely upon its ability to make steel. During the nineteenth century, Britain was prominent among steel-producing nations, and, towards the end of the Victorian era, was manufacturing a great proportion of the world ’ s steel. But exploitation of vast deposits of ore abroad changed the international situation so that by the middle of the twentieth century what we then referred to as the two Superpowers – the USA and the USSR – owed their material power largely to the presence of highgrade ore within, or very near to, their own vast territories. Consequently, they led the world in terms of the volume of steel produced annually. More recently, rapid technological developments in the Far East has meant that Japan is currently the world ’ s premier steel producer followed closely by the People ’ s Republic of China and the USA, with Russia, Germany and the Korean Republic some way behind. The UK now occupies twelfth position in the international steel producers ’ ‘ league table ’ .