China Reiterates Banning Imports of Low-grade Coal

China Reiterates Banning Imports of Low-grade Coal

China reiterated its stance to ban on imported coal with low quality in a guidance document on air pollution control published on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission late last week.

The document, jointly released by the National Energy Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection in late March, vowed to accelerate formulating measures on coal quality, to prohibit imports of high-ash and high-sulphur coal, and to limit exploration and use of high-sulphur and high-ash coal.

These measures were first rolled out last May and have been brought to the public view once and again ever since, but a final version have yet been issued so far.

The document, however, didn’t mention low-CV imported coal, which had previously been proposed to be banned but encountered strong opposition from utilities.

Insiders said importers engaged in imports of high-sulphur and high-ash coal actually has poor profitability due to long distance of shipment.

China’s coastal utilities use large volume of imported coals for their relatively cheaper prices, but imports of low-grade coal, especially those with high-sulphur and high-ash content have been targeted for causing serious air pollution, as the country battles with worsening air quality.

So far, it is still unclear what standard requirements the authorities would impose, but industry sources said such measures would be less stricter as originally proposed, and may still take time to go into effect. 

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