SHANGHAI Jan 5 Tangshan, China's biggest steel
producing city, aims to close 8.6 million tonnes of steel
capacity in 2017, the local government said on Thursday, part of
its efforts to "upgrade" its highly-polluting heavy industrial
Local leaders set the 2017 closure target during an annual
economic work meeting this week, according to an announcement on
the city government's website. They also agreed to cut iron
smelting capacity by 9.33 million tonnes and shed 1.1 million
tonnes of coal capacity.
Before it started shutting down plants in 2014 as part of a
regional war on smog, Tangshan in northern China's Hebei
province was producing around 100 million tonnes of crude steel
every year, more than the whole of the United States.
The city promised in 2014 to cut 40 million tonnes of crude
steel capacity over the 2013-2017 period, and had already closed
31.86 million tonnes by November last year.
Tangshan, about 160 miles from the capital Beijing, has been
shrouded in hazardous smog for much of the past two weeks, and
it announced a new pollution "red alert" on Tuesday that forced
most of its industrial enterprises to suspend operations.
On Thursday, concentrations of hazardous breathable
particles known as PM2.5 were still at 319 micrograms per cubic
metre in Tangshan. Cities need to reduce readings to an annual
average of 35 micrograms in order to meet state standards.
Hebei province as a whole has pledged to cap its total
annual crude steel capacity at 200 million tonnes by the end of
the decade, down from 286 million tonnes in 2013.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)