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Six die in two furnace blasts

Samancor Chrome’s
Witbank ferrochrome,
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 February, 2008 – A total of six people have been killed and at least four more seriously injured in explosions in two furnaces – one at an leading iron ore producer and the other at the world’s second largest producer of ferrochrome.

Assmang Limited (Assmang) – jointly controlled by African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) and Assore Limited (Assore) – announced here yesterday that an explosion had occurred at the No. 6 Furnace of its Cato Ridge works in KwaZulu-Natal.

The company announcement revealed that five employees had died in the blast, and another four had been seriously injured. Assmang has switched off all operating furnaces at Cato Ridge works.

“Management is presently meeting with the families of the affected employees, its employees as well as with employee representatives, and the Department of Labour,” the statement added. “An investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the explosion, and the company will communicate the result of this investigation in due course.”

Meanwhile South Africa’s privately owned Samancor Chrome announced at the weekend that it had shut a furnace at its plant, after a worker had been killed in an explosion on Sunday.

The company has not yet been able to confirm to what extent output has been affected by the closure of the furnace.