SHANGHAI, May 21 (SMM) – Hebei’s Environmental Protection Office has completed three months of inspections targeting pollutant discharges, closing 40 lead-related enterprises in Baoding in the process.
All of the lead-related companies in Baoding, except Fengfan, are secondary lead smelters. However, only Baoding Anjian Nonferrous, Anxin Huacheng Nonferrous, Anxin Nonferrous, Baoding Gang’an Nonferrous, and Anxin Shuoxing Nonferrous have secured the requisite Hazardous Waste Operations Permit required for secondary lead production. Moreover, many producers are operating as small workshops with fewer than 10 workers and only a single crucible. Such workshops have been explicitly targeted by the crackdown due to the heavy pollution caused by their consequent discharge of spent acid and lead slag.
Larger, compliant secondary lead smelters stand to benefit from the crackdown should these small workshop operations be permanently shuttered. , Oversupply pressure will be alleviated, helping buoy secondary lead prices even against a languishing lead-acid battery market. The exit of unqualified producers will also help reduce competition for scrap batteries, allowing secondary lead smelters to push procurement prices down.
Nevertheless, doubts remain over how effective this round of environmental protection crackdowns will be. Many suspect that unlicensed producers will simply resume operations once the inspectors leave. SMM has confirmed that this is already the case with some producers that had been forced to shut down. The net result is that the market anticipates little change in secondary lead supplies and scrap battery prices in Baoding.