• Philippine Resources

Steelmakers support DTI, DENR on moves vs obsolete tech banned in China

THE PHILIPPINE Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) is supporting moves by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to tighten environmental standards and push for modern clean steelmaking technology to ensure quality and safe steel products.

“We fully support the government’s effort to weed out substandard steel products in the market which are unsafe and have been produced using pollutive equipment,” PISI President Roberto Cola said.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier agreed to review existing environmental standards and production technologies used in steelmaking, following reports that several used induction furnace facilities from China have been set up in the country.

China has banned induction furnaces for steelmaking in 2017 because of their pollution and substandard quality steel products.

“What we need in the country are modern, environmentally friendly technologies that will consistently produce quality products,” Sec.

Lopez said in a DTI statement earlier. “We do not want those used pollutive induction furnaces to transfer to our country.”

The ASEAN Iron and Steel Council (AISC) has already issued an advisory against the importation of the obsolete induction furnace equipment from China to ASEAN member nations during the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials Meeting in January 2018.

“In summary, the moving of the induction furnace facilities from China into ASEAN could result in the bringing in of obsolete technology that is not suitable for carbon steel production. These induction furnaces produce substandard quality steel products and are environmentally unfriendly as they emit uncontrolled harmful gases and particulates and consume higher electrical energy than electric arc furnace,” the AISC said in its paper.

The DTI and the DENR are set to form a Technical Working Group (TWG) to align its policies and strategies in ensuring steelmaking facilities are compliant with environmental standards and product quality. The TWG will likewise review the compliance of steel producers with an online monitoring system linked to the DENR.

According to the Sec. Lopez, the move is also in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production, which is actively pursued in the ASEAN region.

“This collaboration with DENR will help us in promoting industrial capacity building with the use of advanced technology in steel making while protecting our environment. This is also a testament that as we drive economic growth, we encourage responsible businesses in the country,” said Sec. Lopez added in the statement.

Sec. Cimatu also expressed DENR’s commitment in the collaboration. He assured that the Environmental Management (EMB) as well as the Mines and Geosciences Bureaus (MGB) will be in coordination with the DTI-Consumer Protection Group and the Board of Investments (BOI) in this agenda.

Sec. Lopez said that both agencies are studying proposed regulations on the use of secondhand equipment or machineries in the steel industry. Moreover, a study on the possibility of making the approval for all environmental compliance certificates (ECC) for critical heavy industries like steelmaking and cement be on a national level. This is to ensure more comprehensive and faster review of ECC applications, as well as enjoining a more intensive environment and production monitoring of steelmaking facilities.


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