March 13, 2018 / 10:35 AM / 10 days ago

China's top steelmaking city deepens output curbs to extend war on smog

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s top steelmaking city of Tangshan will order some steel mills to cut production by as much as half to improve air quality, after curbs put in place during winter expire in March, the government said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: People walk on the road leading to the Badaling section of the Great Wall on a hazy day in Yanqing district in Beijing, China February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Some steel mills that have been slow in tackling environmental pollution will have to cut production by up to half based on air quality, the Tangshan Development and Reform Commission said in a statement.

Tangshan is the world’s biggest steelmaking city, producing more than the whole of the United States in a single year.

It has proposed a fresh set of restrictions on steel mills, cutting production by 10-15 percent.

As part of China’s war against air pollution, Tangshan will set up different rates of production curbs in the central part of the city based on air quality, location and capacity size, the reform commission said.

China ordered 28 northern cities to cut steel output by up to half during the winter heating season from Nov. 15 to March 15 as part of an anti-pollution campaign.

Mills in the main part of the city, including the Tangsteel Company, a unit of the Hebei Iron and Steel (HBIS) Group, as well as the privately-owned Tangshan Guofeng Iron & Steel Co Ltd, will be ordered to cut production by as much as 15 percent.

Other Tangshan mills will cut production by 10 percent, but that could be increased if air quality worsens. Mills that have not obtained licenses to discharge pollutants will have to halt production.

Under the new plan, the government will tighten monitoring and scrutiny on adherence to the curbs and order power suppliers to report electricity used by steel mills each month.

Hebei produced 191 million tonnes of crude steel last year, nearly 20 percent of China’s total. Tangshan accounted for over half of that.

Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; Editing by Tom Hogue

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