China names and shames steel mill in Shanxi for dumping waste

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A steel firm in northern China’s Shanxi province has been accused of faking pollution data and dumping large volumes of waste, the environment ministry said, its latest attempt to name and shame industrial polluters.

The Gaoyi Iron and Steel Company, based in the city of Yuncheng, illegally dumped and buried large amounts of steel slag at sites near its plant over a period of 10 years, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a notice posted on its website on Thursday.

“The enterprise ignored its corporate responsibility to protect the environment and over a long period illegally dumped and buried large amounts of steel slag, not only bringing about serious environmental pollution risks but also encroaching upon a lot of arable land,” it said.

The company, a mid-sized steelmaker formed in 2008, produces 3 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.6 million tonnes of special steel every year. It was ordered to build a dedicated slag treatment yard in 2013, but failed to meet the requirements.

This year alone, it produced 314,000 tonnes of steel slag, more than 90 percent of which was dumped on surrounding farmland.

The firm was also subject to large numbers of complaints from members of the public about excess smoke emissions during a central government investigation last year, the ministry said.

According to state media reports earlier this month, the provincial government in Shanxi has established a task force to ensure that Gaoyi Steel’s violations are rectified as soon as possible, and its operations have already been suspended.

Gaoyi Steel did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Friday.

Reporting by David Stanway and the Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger