China, the world's largest producer of steel, has ordered closure of 18.4 million tonnes of outmoded iron and steel capacity in the first half of the year in an effort to cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The shutdown included 9.7 million tonnes of iron and 8.7 million tonnes of steel capacity in Beijing and nine provinces such as Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Liaoning, China's National Development and Reform Commission said.
China's 10 major steel producing regions are expected to eliminate 22.6 million tonnes of iron capacity and 24.2 million tonnes of steel capacity in 2007.
China produces 420 million tones of crude steel and accounts for 34 per cent of the world's total. The country's steel output is expected to reach 500 million tonnes this year.
China plans to phase out 100 million tonnes of out-dated iron capacity and 55 million tonnes of steel capacity by 2010.
The plan is expected to save 50 million tonnes of coal and 100 million tonnes of water and reduce 400,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide emissions annually.