SHANGHAI, Dec 19 (SMM) – Even as a quarter of the heating season passed, most regions that faced cutbacks remain far from meeting their air quality targets for 2018/2019 winter, SMM learned from public data. This is set to pressure operations across steel mills in the near term.
The average PM2.5 level in major 2+26 cities stood at 74.65 μg/m³ in November, 13.88% higher than the target of 65.55 μg/m³, according to data by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The November reading gained 10% from November 2017.
In Tangshan, PM2.5 concentration averaged 77.50 μg/m³ last month, up 29.51% from the targeted 59.84 μg/m³, the data showed.
As northern Chinese cities pushed forward the implementation of winter cutbacks to meet air quality targets, more mills were forced to conduct extended maintenance on their furnaces.
Handan Iron & Steel plans to suspend its #5 blast furnace for maintenance from December 31 to March 15, 2019. The other five blast furnaces of the plant will face 30% cuts during the same period. This is expected to affect daily molten iron production by 15,000 mt, SMM learned.