China releases coal quality standards, impact on imports seen limited

China releases coal quality standards, impact on imports seen limited

The Chinese government will implement provisional measures on the quality of commercial coal to be used in the country starting from next year, after mulling over such measures for more than one year’s time.
Six ministries, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the General Administration of Customs, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, have jointly issued the measures recently, which was posted on the NDRC’s website on September 15.
The new standards, applied to both domestically produced and imported coal, are similar to the ones implemented on imported coal in southeastern China’s Fujian province since May 28.

According to the report, the sulphur content of commercial coal should been less than 1.50% for lignite and below 3.00% for other coal varieties, while the ash content should be below 30.00% for lignite and 40.00% for other varieties.
It also sets caps on commercial coal to be transported over a distance of more than 600km. That is, lignite should have calorific value above 16.50 MJ/kg (
3,946 Kcal/kg), and ash and sulphur content below 20.00% and 1.00%; while non-lignite coals should have calorific value above 18.00 MJ/kg (4,300 Kcal/kg), and ash and sulphur content below 30.00% and 2.00%.

The government also has set specific standards on trace elements, with mercury below 0.600μg/g, arsenic below 80μg/g, phosphorus below 0.150%, chlorine below 0.300% and fluorine below 200μg/g.
Industry insiders said the restrictions would have limited impacts on the import market, as most imported coal could meet the requirements, and only a small part of the imports would be transported to target users which are 600km away.

The measures also pointed out that coal with ash above 16% and sulphur above 1% will be restricted for sale and use by scattered users (e.g. small boilers, households, restaurants) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan metropolitan and neighboring areas, the Yangze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta area.

Severe punishments will be imposed on those producing, transporting, selling, importing and using coals failing to meet relevant standards, it said.

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