Chinese delegates of NPC called for more imports of premium coking coal, in order to boost green development of steel industry.
Domestic steel production has been plagued by supply shortage, low quality and high sulfur of coking coal, which led to high cost in desulfurization and denitration process.
Coking coal is a necessary raw material of coking process, which produces coke as a prime material for steelmaking at blast furnaces. Domestic coking coal resource is relatively abundant, but still falls short of thermal coal supply.
Reserves of premium coking coal with sulfur below 1% are in small volumes in China, thus the need for overseas premium material becomes pressing in order to meet domestic high environmental standards.
Chinese steel makers stepped up efforts to import foreign high-quality coking coal, but the imports of the material only amounted to 74.66 million tonnes or 24.91% of China's total coal imports of 299.67 million tonnes in 2019.
Thermal coal intakes, however, still registered a dominant share of 75.09% of total last year.
China's strict control of coal imports in recent three years has forced steelmakers to hoard on some high-quality foreign coking coal in order to grapple with supply gap caused by prolonged clearance at customs, but this meanwhile increased capital occupation and pushed global coal prices.
Therefore, Yuan Weixia from China Baowu Group and Yang Genbao from Jiangsu Shagang Group advised for moderate expansion of premium coking coal imports and shorter customs clearance time for coal imports.
(Writing by Tammy Yang Editing by Jessie Jia)
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