Gov’t tightens standards on steel


    The government is poised to ban the use of induction furnaces due to their pollutive processes and the inconsistent quality products these manufacture.

    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will review existing environmental standards and production technologies used in steelmaking following  reports of the existence of  used induction furnace facilities that are pollutive and produce inconsistent quality and non-conforming steel products.

    The DTI in a statement said stricter environmental standards will be implemented and more modern and cleaner technology in steelmaking will be adopted  to ensure manufacturers produce quality and safer steel products.

    Such practices will also  encourage industries to be environment-friendly.

    The moves were agreed upon by  DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu in a meeting last Monday.

    China, which has the top three steelmakers in the list of the top six largest in the world, has phased out and eradicated induction furnaces in 2017

    “We do not want those used pollutive induction furnaces to transfer to our country,” Lopez said.

    Lopez said  both agencies are also studying proposed regulations on the use of secondhand equipment or machineries in the steel industry.

    The government is also studying  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.

    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.

    The TWG shall also review the proposed increase in penalties imposed on manufacturers violating environmental standards or the terms and conditions in the ECC.

    Lopez also committed to conduct a review on the Philippine Standard license certification scheme procedures for steel products, possibly including steel billets, and more intensive monitoring at the retail trade level.