October 9, 2018 / 8:08 AM / 10 days ago

China's coal hub Shanxi to cut coking capacity, coke output: government document

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Shanxi province, the country’s major coal mining hub, has pledged to cut coking capacity and annual coke output, according to a government statement on Tuesday, in line with a long-term drive to reduce toxic emissions from heavy industry.

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past coal piles at a coal coking plant in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, China January 31, 2018. REUTERS/William Hong/File Photo

The province is also giving coke producers until Oct. 1, 2019 to meet stringent environmental standards, according to the statement, with those missing the deadline facing the prospect of being ordered to shut down.

The statement came after all 11 cities in Shanxi were identified this year by central government as “key battlefield” of the country’s steadfast anti-pollution campaign.

It has vowed to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide amount by more than 20 percent by 2020 from the level in 2015, according to a separate document issued by the provincial government in July.

The province has been heavily relying on mining and processing of the polluting fossil fuel, with one-fifth of China’s total coke output coming from Shanxi last year.

Currently, Shanxi has around 130 million tonnes of coking capacity, according to analysts estimation.

“We will use environmental, energy efficiency and safety measures to force companies to phase out outdated capacity,” said Shanxi government in a statement on Tuesday, also ordering city authorities to form capacity elimination plans by the end of 2018.

Shanxi is also encouraging coke plants to move to designated industrial parks and merge with steel mills in order to streamline manufacturing.

Coke plants that comply to government plans of relocation and improving efficiency will be given capital supports.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Aizhu Chen; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Vyas Mohan

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