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Sixth death in Assmang blast

Aerial view of
Assmang’s Khumani
iron ore mine site
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 February, 2008 – A sixth employee of leading iron ore producer Assmang Limited (Assmang) has died as a result of the weekend blast at the Number Six furnace of the company’s Cato Ridge works in KwaZulu-Natal.

Confirming the latest fatality today, an ARM announcement here said that two seriously injured Assmang employees were still in hospital.

“The Board of Directors and management of Assmang have conveyed their sincere condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of the deceased, and extended their heartfelt sympathy to those affected by this tragic accident,” the announcement added.

“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 continued.

The company has switched off all operating furnaces at its Cato Ridge works, and an investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the explosion. Assmang will communicate the result of this investigation in due course.

ARM Ferrous chief executive Jan Steenkamp has said that the damaged furnace is likely to be out of operation for the next five to six months. The rest of the plant is expected to resume operations by Friday.