SHANGHAI, Jun 24 (SMM) – China's top steelmaking city of Tangshan ordered steel mills across the region to deepen production cuts until the end of July, as the city came under fire from central authorities for disappointing results in smog control efforts.
Steelmakers that are categorised as Grade A or located along the coast are required to cut capacity of sintering and pelletising machines, blast furnaces, converters, and lime kilns by 20%, while other mills in the region will face cuts of at least 50%, according to the official statement issued on Saturday June 22.
The curbs will no longer exclude mills that are set to relocate to rural areas.
As toxic emissions grew, air quality in Tangshan ranked the worst among 168 Chinese cities in the first 20 days of June, when production curbs over steelmakers were let up. This is likely to put the city in the group of 10 cities with the worst air quality in the year-to-date rankings after June.
On the backdrop of persisting production curbs, output of pig iron across the city expanded 14.8% year on year in January-May, that of crude steel rose 17.2%, and that of cement grew 11.9%, according to the statement.
Excessive production, a greater use of steel scrap, blast furnace capacity expansion and slack implementation of production curbs accounted for the high output.
This, together with adverse weather conditions, distorted data and the failure of some mills to achieve ultra-low emission standards, led to the deteriorating air quality.
According to another official statement that the Tangshan government issued to district authorities and related departments on Sunday, inspectors would be dispatched to steel mills to ensure the thorough implementation of production cuts.
Tangshan’s move came after the intensification of anti-smog measures in Wu’an of Hebei province and Lvliang of Shanxi last week.
China's environment ministry earlier in the month summoned officials from six northern Chinese cities, including Hebei’s Baoding and Langfang, Henan’s Luoyang, Anyang and Puyang and Shanxi’s Jinzhong, for a discussion after they failed to meet winter smog-cutting targets.