region, in a proposal that goes against a current industry trend. Aluminium smelters in China, the world’s top producer of the metal, are increasingly building plants in western parts of the country, particularly Yunnan province, to take advantage of cleaner hydropower. Writing in response to a National Development and Reform Commission document released in August on encouraged industries for China’s West, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said aluminium should not be on the list. The environment ministry said “Coking and electrolytic aluminium are high-polluting and high-energy consuming industries and they have overcapacity across the country. They should not be included in the catalogue of encouraged industries in the western region.”
China’s West，which occupies more than half the country’s total land area, includes the Xinjiang region which had already become a hub for aluminium smelters due to lower costs and less stringent environmental requirements than in the east as well as Tibet, Inner Mongolia and several provinces.