Increasing costs arising from China’s anti-pollution drive and a persistently weak market has caused some silicon metal producers in the southern Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan to delay the restart of their refining operations.
Refineries in these provinces typically undergo scheduled maintenances in April and May in preparation for the rainy season in May-November, traditionally a time of reduced electricity costs for producers due to the availability of cheaper hydroelectricity.
Indeed, most silicon producers in Yunnan province will only operate during the rainy season owing to the lower production costs achieved through the use of hydroelectricity, market sources told Fastmarkets MB.
But an increasing number of silicon producers in southern China were heard to have postponed the resumption of their refining operations following the completion of maintenance shutdowns, citing a weak market and rising costs stemming from the need to install new environmental friendly equipment.
The Chinese government’s increasing focus on protecting...