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Strict environmental checks weigh Chinese Scrap Lead-Acid Battery Recycling industry

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SHANGHAI (Scrap Register): In China’s market, scrap lead-acid battery prices dropped in late June and early July following lead price decline, with scrap motive battery price down by 150 yuan per ton to 9,250 yuan per ton from 9,400 yuan per ton seen on June 22. This, coupled with strict environmental protection inspections, puts scrap battery recycling industry under shuffling.

SMM survey finds that all small secondary lead smelters shut down in response to environmental checks, and output at large secondary lead smelter is also restricted by high temperature.

Those smelters thus push down purchase price for scrap lead-acid battery, shrinking profits at scrap battery recyclers. Moreover, traders are active in selling with pessimistic outlook. Hence, scrap battery price failed tracing lead price up this week.

Scrap lead-acid battery contains 74% of lead polar plate, 20% of sulfuric acid and 6% of plastic, which has high recycling value as the main raw material for secondary lead smelters.

Some scrap battery recyclers, expecting battery price to increase further, built large amounts of stocks in May and June after prices increased. However, recyclers in face of environmental protection storm reduce purchases at present and are reluctant to have stocks. Illegal lead-acid battery recycling enterprises are the main source of environmental pollution.

The seventh rounds of environmental inspection in “2+26” key regions, namely Beijing, Tianjin, and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas has been launched this week. This, combined with new inspection process proposed by environmental protection minister, leads to stricter environmental checks.

About 176,000 of enterprises, which fails reaching emission standard, will close down by September 2017, let alone those recyclers, decreasing scrap battery demand. This will weigh down scrap lead-acid battery market.

However, small secondary lead smelters will suffer from frequent strict environmental checks. Easing raw material supply will allow large secondary lead to raise operating rate, increasing scrap battery demand. This will promote secondary lead industry to optimize industrial structure.

There are only four secondary lead smelters in the first batch of list which meet Standard for Secondary Lead Industry, including Jiangsu New Chunxing Resource Recycling, Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead, Baoding Gang’an Nonferrous Metals and Hubei Jinyang Metallurgy.

There are hundreds of illegal secondary lead smelters in China, accounting for a large proportion in thousands of smelters. According to Standard for Secondary Lead Industry, pretreatment capacity at secondary lead smelters should surpass 100,000-tpy and pretreatment-smelting capacity should exceed 60,000-tpy. The Standard also requires breakage rate of scrap lead-acid battery to below 5%.

For now, Shandong has released the first batch of standard scrap lead-acid battery collection and transport enterprises, including 57 of scrap lead-acid battery collection enterprises and 253 of enterprises for temporary storage.

China’s scrap lead-acid battery recycling industry will be more standard after the policy is promoted to the regions across the country.

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