China's top steel city to extend winter output curbs

12 February 2018

China’s top steelmaking city of Tangshan said on Friday it would extend restrictions on production beyond the end of the winter heating season on March 15.

A document on the Tangshan government’s website said the city would draw up a plan to continue some curbs, including on eight central steel mills, by the end of this month.

Steel plants in heavily polluted Tangshan, in the northern Hebei province, have been forced to cut production by as much as 50 percent during China’s 2017/18 winter months as part of a targeted environmental protection campaign.

Reuters reported on Feb. 1 that Tangshan was considering prolonging the curbs beyond mid-March, but the Hebei government denied there was such a plan for the province.

Among the extended measures announced, eight steel mills located near the city center, including the main site of Tangsteel, a unit of HBIS Group, will face unspecified “normalized” production limits after March 15, the Tangshan document said.

Other steel mills be will required to stagger their production when instructed to by the city government, which did not say when the extended curbs would end.

Tangshan was ranked by the Ministry of Environmental Protection as one of China’s 10 worst performing cities in terms of pollution last year.

The city has set its PM2.5 (particulate matter with a width of 2.5 microns) target for 2018 at 59 micrograms per cubic meter according to the document, which did not give a figure for the average 2017 level. Hebei as a whole saw PM2.5 concentrations hit 65 micrograms per cubic meter last year.

Meanwhile, Tangshan said it would eliminate 1.2 million tonnes per year of steel capacity and 1.81 million tonnes of coal capacity by the end of this year, as well as speed up the relocation of heavy industry to coastal regions.

The city plans to achieve its annual coal-to-gas or coal-to-electricity switching target by the end of October, according to the document, which did not provide a figure for the target.

By the same month, 45 Tangshan steel mills are required to have upgraded their sintering equipment.