Stripping of cathode
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 September 2009 – South Africa’s only zinc refinery “’ the Zincor plant belonging to diversified South African-based resources company Exxaro Resources Limited (Exxaro) “’ has halted output after an explosion yesterday killed three contractors and injured 12 others.

A company statement released here said that operations had been suspended to allow an investigation into the cause of the blast to take place. Exxaro would make a decision on re-starting activities by tomorrow, it added.

“Preliminary information shows that an explosion occurred in the maintenance contractors’ storage area situated near the plant,” the Exxaro statement said. “The contract workers died after gas bottles stored in containers exploded,” the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in an e-mailed statement.

Bloomberg News reports that about 25% of Zincor’s sales go to ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited, according to Exxaro’s Web site. Output of zinc metal at Zincor fell 6% to 44 000 metric tonnes in the six months to 30 June.

Exxaro rose R2.30, or 2.6 %, to R90.30 in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R32.2 billion. The companyhas advanced % this year.

Global zinc output exceeded demand last year for the first time since 2003, according to Xstrata Plc. Zinc, which is mostly used to protect steel against corrosion, has gained 57% in London this year, rebounding from a 49% slump in 2008.