SHANGHAI, Nov 1 (SMM) – The new round of environmental probes by China’s central authorities is likely to have limited impact on lead production as local inspections, maintenance, thin profit margins lower the overall operating rates at smelters, SMM expects.
Five inspection teams from the central government will settle, or have settled, in Shanxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Anhui, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Shaanxi provinces this week. They are expected to stay for about a month to supervise local environmental conditions and review the implementation of rectification plans that were made during previous environmental checks.
The environmental protection bureau of Anhui province started probes from the start of October and this has already impacted production at local secondary lead smelters.
In Guizhou, smelters are already supervised by local authorities. Narrow profit margins prompted most secondary lead smelters in Guizhou to operate at lower levels.
This round of reviews is expected to take a toll on smelters without production licences, a smelter in Hunan told SMM, but overall lead supply across Hunan would not fall below demand.