September 18, 2013 / 6:46 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-China cuts coal use, steel capacity in northern regions

(Adds details on capacity cuts for provinces and industries)

SHANGHAI, Sept 18 (Reuters) - China will cut coal consumption and shut capacity of polluting industries in key northern cities and provinces by 2017, the environment ministry said on Wednesday, as it outlined its plan to tackle the pollution that has plagued some areas for years.

The moves are part of a slew of measures announced by Beijing last week to clean up the environment and reveal the targets for capacity cuts on specific sectors.

China has been under heavy pressure to reduce air pollution after thick, hazardous smog engulfed much of the industrial north in January. The anti-pollution drive is taking aim at coal consumption growth, while encouraging the use of natural gas and other clean energy.

Coal consumption in the northern cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and in Shanxi, Hebei and Shandong provinces, will be slashed by a total 83 million tonnes per year, the ministry said in a statement on its website. (here)

To reduce toxic emissions, China will limit the sales of coal with more than 1 percent sulphur content and more than 16 percent ash, the ministry said.

The northern regions will also be required to upgrade existing coal-fired power plants and replace others with gas-fired generation facilities.

To tackle overcapacity, areas around Beijing, including Shanxi and Tianjin, will be prohibited from approving new plants for industries that are already mired in oversupply, including steel, aluminium, cement, glass-making and ship-building.

Shandong, Shanxi and Hebei province will also shut 89.3 million tonnes of outdated steel capacity by 2017 at the latest.

Below are details on some of the capacity cuts required by the cities and provinces:

HEBEI PROVINCE - Cut outdated steel capacity by 60 million tonnes, cement production by 61 million tonnes and glass-making capacity by 36 million tonnes by 2017.

SHANXI PROVINCE - Cut 6.7 million tonnes of steel and 18 million tonnes of coke capacity by 2017.

INNER MONGOLIA - Reduce cement capacity by 4.6 million tonnes by 2017.

SHANDONG PROVINCE - Shut 21.1 million tonnes and 22.6 million tonnes of iron-making and steel capacity, respectively, by 2015. Limit coke production capacity at less than 40 million tonnes by 2017.

TIANJIN - Limit cement production at less than 5 million tonnes and steel production capacity at under 20 million tonnes by 2017.

Reporting by Fayen Wong and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue

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