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CONF: China's 2018 winter curb to vary from steel mills

China mulls differentiating curbing measures among Chinese steel mills during the 2018 winter months depending on their individual waste emission situation, Wang Libin, President of Shijiazhuang Municipal Research Academy of Environmental Science, shared at a panel discussion at the Singapore Iron Ore Forum on May 24.
China mulls differentiating curbing measures among Chinese steel mills during the 2018 winter months depending on their individual waste emission situation, Wang Libin, President of Shijiazhuang Municipal Research Academy of Environmental Science, shared at a panel discussion at the Singapore Iron Ore Forum on May 24.

“Instead of an identical capacity cut that applies to all steel producers, as what was implemented in 2018, related local authorities will implement different measures to each individual steel producers to guarantee fairness,” he said.

Bao Jianhua, General Manager of PT. Dexin Steel Indonesia, welcomed the latest development in China’s pollution control efforts.

“Differentiating the capacity cuts will definitely fairer and more just,” he said.

Dexin’s parent company Delong Steel has spent tens of billions of Yuan in upgrading their eco-friendly facilities, and their emissions of particles, water and gas are half of the government requests for, yet their capacity has been cut by as much as the others in the Hebei province, according to him.

Steel mills in North China’s Hebei province saw their blast furnace capacities cut by at least 30% over November 15-March 15 for 2017 winter restrictions, the first time that Beijing introduced the initiative to control air pollution.

“The winter restriction will be continuing without a question in 2018, but the local authorities will work out a detailed guideline for steel producers to refer to and decide on how much cut they should implement,” Wang explained on the  sideline of the conference.

China fulfilled its 2013-2017 air pollution control tasks by the end of 2017 as planned and Beijing has launched another three-year battle for returning the blue sky in China over 2018-2020, he added.

Accelerating efforts in pollution control has prompted Chinese steel mills to invest heavily in eco-friendly facilities, and Delong, for example, has seen its steel production cost up Yuan 200/tonne ($31/t) in the past couple of years, though all the investments paid off as the steel mill has been able to benefit from the recycling of waste water and other solids such as ashes and sulfur.

“China will only enhance environmental protection in the coming years and is shifting towards ecological protection now, but it has never been targeting at all the heavy and polluting industries instead of steel alone, so forcing steel capacity out of the market is not the core agenda, just to clean the industry,” Wang emphasized.

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment is working on a new guideline on pollution control with even stricter standards and expect all the modifications to be accomplished by 2020 in North China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and neighboring areas, the Yangtze River Delta and the Fenwei plains including North China’s Shanxi province and Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, as reported.

Written by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com