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Assmang ordered to shut down furnace

Underground loading
underway at an
Assmang operation
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 April 2008 – Leading iron ore producer Assmang Limited has been ordered to shut down a furnace at its ferromanganese plant in Cato Ridge, about 60 km from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, after molten metal leaked from a hole in the furnace wall.

Reporting this latest development yesterday, Reuters quoted a Labour Department statement as saying: “A prohibition notice served on the company has effectively halted all operations of the furnace until investigations are finalised.”

The statement added that an inspection of the plant had revealed that on Saturday a hole had burned through the furnace wall, causing slag and molten metal to seep through. No-one was injured. The Labour Department said the prohibition notice would be lifted once the furnace is declared safe to operate by an expert.

The shut-down order comes just over a week after the department had lifted a ban on four of Assmang’s furnaces.

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.