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UPDATE 1-China's Sanshan port turns away scrap metal cargoes as queues mount

Tom Daly

* China is restricting scrap metal imports from July 1

* Customs moved deadline for Sanshan arrivals to June 26 -notice

* Sanshan is key scrap port in Guangdong province (Adds background, port official comment)

BEIJING, June 27 (Reuters) - The port of Sanshan in southern China's Guangdong province stopped accepting scrap metal shipments on Thursday after an excessive build-up of stockpiles caused by importers racing to bring in cargoes ahead of new rules starting next week.

China, the world's biggest metals consumer, is restricting imports of eight types of scrap metal, including high-grade copper scrap, from July 1 in a crackdown on foreign solid waste to reduce pollution in the country.

Because scrap stockpiles at the port have grown too large, customs decided to bring forward the deadline for scrap cargoes to arrive at Sanshan from June 29 to June 26, according to a notice from the Sanshan port authority sent to customers and reviewed by Reuters.

Shipments arriving from June 27 cannot be accepted, said the notice, whose authenticity was confirmed by a port official who asked to remain unidentified.

Sanshan's import capacity has "already been seriously exceeded" and there are temporary controls on the number of boats allowed to dock, the official added.

It was not immediately clear when shipments would be able to resume. Firms that have received quotas from China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment will still be allowed to import the soon-to-be-restricted metal after July 1, but no quotas have been issued so far for Guangdong and its key scrap hub of Foshan.

The Sanshan port official said cargoes declared to customs before July 1 would be able to pass.

The environment ministry last week released the first batch of quotas, which for copper scrap totalled around 240,000 tonnes, mostly for companies in Zhejiang, another of China's metal recycling centers.

The port of Sanshan, which is near Foshan and under the jurisdiction of Guangzhou customs, is one of only 18 seaports in China authorized to handle solid waste imports.

Guangzhou customs did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)