Chinese environment inspectors to audit Chinalco, other state entities and regions

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) is seen outside its headquarters in Beijing, China, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s environment ministry is sending inspection teams to Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), the National Energy Administration, as well as other state-run entities and three Chinese regions, in its latest round of environmental audits.

A total of seven teams of central-government inspectors have been assembled and will carry out their audits on-site for around one month, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The inspections come after air pollution in more than 300 Chinese cities fell by an average of 10% in the first seven months of 2020, largely due to measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

But experts expect pollution to rebound in the second half of the year as local governments back energy-intensive industry and infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.

Chinalco, best known as an aluminium producer, was in hot water with the environmental authorities twice in 2018 when officials from its unit in northwest China were punished here for their handling of hazardous solid waste and a rare earths subsidiary was found to have breached environmental rules here.

The other state-owned enterprise to undergo an audit will be cement producer China National Building Material Co, while the regions of Beijing, the nearby municipality of Tianjin and the eastern province of Zhejiang will also be inspected.

The seventh team will audit the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Min Zhang; additional reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai; editing by Uttaresh.V