MAC: Mines and Communities

China undertakes to increase recycling of metals

Published by MAC on 2009-11-02

The Chinese government plans to double its secondary production of some key nonferrous metals, including copper, aluminium and lead. It aims at using recycled scrap (much of imported) to create between 30% and 40% of future refined metal output.

The announcement is in line with the state's earlier intention to close down small, dirty, metals plants - a policy no doubt partly prompted by recent revelations of severe lead poisoning among thousands of children. See:

However, instead of demanding that these plants simply improve their standards  (which, in many cases, would be impossible), the regime promises to set new rules in the construction of replacement facilities.

At first sight, this would seem to be an improvement.

However, no statement has yet been issued as to what these standards would be; and whether mandatory strict health and environmental limits would be imposed.

China to encourage secondary nonferrous metals output

Interfax China Metals & Mining

30 October 2009

The Chinese government aims to double the country's total annual output of major secondary nonferrous metals to 11 million tons by 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on Oct. 26.

According to the announcement, China aims for domestic secondary copper to amount to over 40 percent of the country's annual refined copper output. It also plans for secondary aluminum and lead to each account for more than 30 percent of the country's primary aluminum and refined lead annual production. The government plans to accomplish these goals through increased funding and policy support for established major secondary nonferrous metals producing projects.

Furthermore, the MIIT said that as most of China's nonferrous metals producers are privately-owned and the country's secondary nonferrous metals production capacity is in surplus, the government will set new standards for the building of secondary nonferrous metals production facilities, in order to promote consolidation in the industry. However, it did not reveal any specific information in regard to the proposed new standards.

Wang Gongmin, director of the secondary unit of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA), said in the announcement that domestic producers should limit production capacity expansion, as two thirds of China's raw material supply for secondary nonferrous metals production comes from overseas markets, which have limited supplies.

China produced 2.51 million tons of secondary nonferrous metals in the first half of 2009, including 950,000 tons of secondary copper and 1.2 million tons of secondary aluminum.

Interfax commentary: China's scrap copper imports in the first nine months of 2009 fell by 32.58 percent year-on-year. This has impacted China's secondary refined copper output, which Interfax believes will slide below that of 2008 this year. At the same time, China's scrap aluminum imports have risen by 8.41 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2009, which should have boosted secondary primary aluminum output during the period.

Lu Jian, an official from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA), said that different import procedures set by the General Administration of Customs caused the disparity between import volumes. This may result in the central government first facilitating imports of scrap copper, to ensure raw material supply for the production of secondary refined copper, before implementing supporting policies for other secondary nonferrous metals.

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