China's top steelmaking city Tangshan tightens pollution controls

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese city of Tangshan has ordered steel mills and other industrial companies to curb output or emissions for four days as the mid-autumn public holidays begin, according to two sources and a document seen by Reuters, continuing wider efforts to tackle air pollution.

FILE PHOTO: A power station of the State Development & Investment Corporation (SDIC) is reflected in a lake in Tangshan, Hebei province, China, August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The move comes after China’s top steelmaking city registered a drop in air quality since the end of last month. The air quality index (AQI) has exceeded 100 for eight days so far this month, according to data traced by China’s Ecology and Environment Ministry, having averaged about 74 over Aug. 13-31.

Steel, cement, coke and thermal power companies are all affected by restrictions imposed by the smog-prone city’s environment regulator.

Tangshan, located about 150 km east of Beijing, had already imposed restrictions on the industrial sector for the whole of September and early October.

The additional curbs for the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday require plants of Tangsteel Co and Tangyin Steel to have only one sintering machine running from noon on Sept. 11 to noon on Sept. 15, according to the notice viewed by Reuters.

A sintering plant uses heat to process iron ore ahead of smelting into steel.

Steelmakers Tangsteel and Tangyin Steel did not answer calls from Reuters.

Coke plants, meanwhile, have been ordered to suspend all wet coke quenching and replace this by coke dry quenching, which has lower CO2 emissions and thermal energy loss, during the four-day period.

Cement companies with one cement kiln have been asked to limit output by 40%. Those with two or more kilns have been asked to reduce production by 50%.

Beijing is desperate to minimize pollution across northern parts of the country and keep the Chinese capital safer before celebrations of its 70th anniversary on Oct. 1.

Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; Additional reporting by David Stanway; Editing by David Goodman