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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2007
METAL Casting Technologies December 2007 26 espite the increase in metal castings production in China, its technological level lags behind that of developed countries, up to 20 years' behind according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The metal casting industry is also characterised by high consumption of energy and raw materials, heavy pollution and bad working conditions. When Premier, Wen Jiabao made an uncharacteristic admission in March that China was failing to meet a 2010 goal (of reducing by 20 per cent the amount of energy it takes to generate each dollar of national income), he also said the Government would "resolutely close down" the "backward" foundries. That is, iron foundries with a total production capacity of 100 million tons and steel mills with a total production capacity of 55 million tons between 2006 and 2010. And the planned relocation and downsizing of Shougang's (Beijing Iron and Steel Group) operations is seen as a departure from earlier policies of growth while ignoring the consequences, and will help Beijing's Government honour its commitments to improve air quality in time for the Olympics. "It's not a transfer of pollution," said the company's president Zhu Jimin. "The new plant will adopt new technologies to minimise emissions and waste discharge." An evaluation by China's environment watchdog shows the new plant will ensure 99.5 per cent of the solid waste and 97.5 per cent of waste water are recycled; emissions and energy consumption will also decrease. Unlike the vast operations of Shougang, it's clear from programs conducted with China's Town and Village Enterprise (TVE) sector industries, including foundries, that there needs to be stronger incentives to improve energy efficiency and abate emissions of their operations. Fortunately, the Government is pushing "pollution credits" trading that can drive investment toward clean industries. But desires of localities to generate profits still have a strong influence on the development of industry. FOCUS MOVING TOWARDS "TRADITIONAL" TVE Those once unbeatable benchmarks paid for products made in the world's workshop that is China, may be on the rise. It was D China s foundries - high energy consumption and heavy pollution By Paula Wallace Environmental Report