UPDATE 1-China issues import quotas for another 26,566 T of copper scrap

* Environment ministry publishes second batch of quotas for 2020

* Allowances are much smaller than first batch in December

* China plans to reclassify high-grade scrap this year - group (Adds background)

BEIJING, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A unit of China’s environment ministry on Wednesday issued import quotas for another 26,566 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap, in the second batch of allowances for restricted types of scrap metal for 2020.

Quotas for 7,544 tonnes of aluminium scrap and 3,180 tonnes of steel scrap imports were also awarded in a list published by the China Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Bureau, which is part of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

The quotas are being closely watched amid concern that top metals consumer China - which tightened restrictions on scrap from July 2019 and wants to reduce solid waste imports to zero by the end of 2020 - could leave itself short of supply.

The latest batch - awarded to firms everywhere from Liaoning in northeast China to Guangdong in the south - is much smaller than the first batch for 2020, which was issued on Dec. 23 and listed quotas for 270,885 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap and 275,465 tonnes of aluminium scrap.

China classes scrap metal as solid waste but changes will be introduced this year that will see high-grade copper and aluminium scrap meeting new standards reclassified as a resource, the recycling branch of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said in November.

Such material would still be allowed to enter China even when all solid waste imports are off-limits. (Reporting by Tom Daly, editing by Louise Heavens)