Moves have been made to push China's copper industry towards consolidation in the wake of recent capacity expansion and growing inefficiency, the Wall Street Journal reported. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that new investment in smelters with annual output capacities of less than 100,000 metric tons have been prohibited from July 1. Smelters must also obtain at least 25% of raw materials from their own mines and pay for 35% of investment in new projects from internal sources. In addition, stricter rules have been introduced regarding equipment standards, safety levels and environmental protection. Eight smelters, each with an annual capacity in excess of 100,000 tons, produce 70-80% of China's copper output. Under the new measures, the small-scale smelters that account for the remaining 20-30% will have to expand capacity or face being swamped by larger players. In the first half of 2006, copper production was up 23% on the previous year to 1.42 million tons and capacity is expected to reach 3.7 million tons by the end of 2007.