China punishes coal, steel companies for violating pollution, safety rules
Author: Josephine Mason and Beijing newsroom
China's state planner has punished hundreds of coal and steel companies by forcing them to close or cut output for violating environmental and safety regulations, the latest effort to crack down on the country's heavily polluting industries.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) forced two steel companies to shut completely, 29 firms to halt production and another 23 to curb output, it said in a statement on Thursday. The closures and curbs followed a nationwide inspection of more than 1,000 steel makers in the world's top producer.
Among more than 4,600 coal mines inspected, the NDRC has revoked safety certificates for 28 coal mines and forced another 286 coal mines to halt production, it added.
The planner did not identify or name the companies, or give details on how the companies broke the rules and how long the penalties will be in place.
Beyond the safety and environment rules, the NDRC also listed other infractions such as violations of energy consumption rules or quality standards.
The statement reflects the government's continued push to force ageing mills and mines to comply with tough new pollution rules by meeting emission standards and installing appropriate monitoring equipment.
China's unwieldy coal and steel industries are considered two of the biggest sources of pollution in the country.
The government is targeting coal output cuts of 500 million tonnes in the next three to five years.
(Editing by Christian Schmollinger)