India Markets open in 3 hrs 56 mins

China's top steel city Tangshan to extend winter output curbs

Steel pipe products are piled at the yard of a steel pipe plant in Tangshan in China's Hebei Province November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) - 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 centre, including the main site of Tangsteel, a unit of HBIS Group, will face unspecified "normalised" 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 metre 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 metre 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.



(Reporting by Tom Daly and Muyu Xu, editing by David Evans)