Henan Province’s Development and Reform Committee issued a memo, requiring local power companies to reduce power supply to aluminium smelters.

According to the circular, each electrolysis potline is required to reduce load by at least 50,000 kW/day. Henan’s thermal coal stocks have decreased to 2.41Mt, way lower than the warning limit of 3.5Mt in winter.

The circular said that as of the end of December, thermal coal stocks at public power plants across the province could only meet less than five days of needs, and it warned local aluminium smelters will be exposed to ‘great risks’ if they do not act to prepare themselves.

In December, aluminium capacity in operation in Henan was 3.12Mt/y, much higher than that in November.

However, the utilisation rate was still very low, only about 65%. Given the latest power curtailment, utilisation is expected to decrease again. Henan is not an individual case.

In Hubei Province, power supply is also limited to high energy-consuming industries including aluminium smelting. More regions are expected to take similar measures because of tight coal availability.

Source China Metals email chinametal@xinhua.org