Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 April, 2005 – Leading iron ore producer Assmang Limited is in discussion with the Department of Labour regarding lifting prohibition on the operation of Furnace 2 at its ferromanganese plant at Cato Ridge, about 60 km from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
Assmang was ordered to shut down the furnace on Tuesday after molten metal had leaked from a hole in the furnace wall.
A statement from ARM Ferrous yesterday emphasised that burn-throughs of this nature were not unusual occurrences in furnace operations in South Africa and around the world. “The Cato Ridge Works has standard practices for repairing burn-throughs, and repairs were completed this morning,” it said. “In line with its re-sharpened focus on safety, Assmang’s Cato Ridge Works also employed the services of an external refractory expert to confirm its course of action. There was no danger to employees or risk to the plant,” it added.
The statement continued: “Regarding the worker injured on 10 April 2008 on Furnace 3, once again there are standard operating procedures in an event like this, and these were followed immediately. This injury was in no way related to the incident on Furnace 2. The employee received first aid at the on-site clinic, and returned to work the next day.”
Cato Ridge Works senior general manager Princess Thwala said: “This was a minor injury, but we will not tolerate deviations from our standard health and safety procedures, and are therefore investigating whether procedures were followed.” Full safety equipment and clothing is provided to all employees, according to the needs of their job.”
In February, Assmang – jointly owned by African Rainbow Minerals and Assore Ltd. – switched off all its operating furnaces after six workers died and four were seriously injured in a furnace explosion at the plant.