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    Strive for development over and above environmental performance qualification
    ----Interview with Mr. Liang Changyu, vice general manager of Jinan Wanfang Carbon Co., Ltd.
    Set up in November 2002 as a private joint-equity enterprise, Jinan Wanfang Carbon Co., Ltd. now owns total assets of RMB1 billion and covers an area of nearly 200,000 square meters. It is an enterprise with ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 certification. Thanks to years of hard work, it has grown into a professional enterprise in the field of carbon production with mature production techniques, complete inspection procedure and rich management experience as well as advanced production equipment across China.

    Asian Metal: Mr. Liang, thanks very much for taking the interview. Would you please give us a brief introduction to your major area of business first?

    Mr. Liang: Thanks. Our company was set up in 2002 as a producer of prebaked anodes and has annual capacity for 600,000t of the material. Our products are sold both in the domestic and export markets.

    Asian Metal: As we know, your company is building a new prebaked anode project of 300,000tpy. Would you please give us a brief introduction to it?

    Mr. Liang: It is a renovation project which aims to replace the old production line of 200,000tpy. The new project is composed of two make-up lines which will be put into operation by the end of December. It has four matching calcinators, construction of which probably will be completed in the second quarter of 2017. But we won’t begin to build the matching roasters until next year when we have gone through all the required official procedures. At present, our annual capacity for prebaked anodes amounts to 600,000t.

    Asian Metal: Why do you think prices for pet coke and calcined coke, the raw materials for prebaked anode production, have risen substantially while those for prebaked anode didn't rise as expected?

    Mr. Liang: This recent discrepancy in price upticks for raw material and for prebaked anodes is mainly a result of the long-term pricing mechanism between producers and customers. What we can do is to strive to explore new growth potential and reduce our production costs.

    Asian Metal: What do you think the influence of the current environmental inspections has been upon the carbon industry, and especially upon small- and micro-sized enterprises?

    Mr. Liang: Indeed, we’ face great pressure from the environmental authorities. But our company has been positively echoing the call of government by increasing our investment in environmental equipment and meeting emissions requirements. So our prebaked anode production hasn't been greatly affected by environmental inspections. But I'm afraid that as strict environmental requirements have become the norm in enterprise operation, small- and micro-sized enterprises will be impacted greatly and may in all probability be forced to shut down if they fail to improve their environmental performance.

    Asian Metal: As we know, Sunstone Development Co., Ltd. and Innovation Group are planning to build a new prebaked anode project with an annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes in Binzhou, Shandong. What influence do you think it will have upon China’s carbon industry?

    Mr. Liang: The prebaked anodes produced by this new project will be mainly sold in the Binzhou region. But there will be more electrolytic aluminum projects built in Binzhou, which means increasing demand for prebaked anodes; besides, we maintain a long-term strategic cooperation with our customers. So the new project will have little influence upon us, nor upon the carbon industry as a whole, as a succession of electrolytic aluminum plants will come on line and there will be an increase in demand for prebaked anodes.

    Asian Metal: With the year 2016 coming to an end, how do you think the prebaked anode market will fare in 2017?

    Mr. Liang: More electrolytic aluminum plants are coming on line right now, but there will also be many newly-built prebaked anode projects in Shandong. So competition will be acute on prices for the material, a natural result in line with market rules. We have to sharpen up our competitive strength by improving product quality over and above environmental performance qualifiication.

    Asian Metal: What is the biggest challenge for your company in the future?

    Mr. Liang: I think it will be our achievements in environmental protection. As the government imposes increasingly strict requirements on environmental protection, we should prioritize it, along with production safety, in our agenda and should regularly renew our environmental equipment. Environmental protection is a single-direction movement, not like prices which may fluctuate up or down. So all we can do is adjust ourselves to environmental requirements in order that we can win more room for development in the future.

    Asian Metal: Thanks again for taking this interview by Asian Metal.

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