August 15, 2017 / 8:39 PM / a year ago

CORRECTED-Explosion kills two at Gerdau steel plant in Brazil

(Corrects location to Minas Gerais state from Mato Grosso)

SAO PAULO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - An explosion at a Brazilian steel plant operated by Gerdau SA killed two people on Tuesday, according to the company and the local metalworkers union.

The blast occurred at a coke oven at Gerdau’s plant in the center-south state of Minas Gerais around 10 a.m. local time, according to the Metalworking Union of Ouro Branco (Sindob).

The plant’s operations were not affected, although the union is preparing a protest over the maintenance of equipment.

Gerdau’s preferred shares dropped 2.1 percent to 10.97 reais at the close of trading.

Gerdau confirmed the accident occurred and the number of casualties but did not immediately provide further details.

This is the second major accident in less than one year at the steel plant that employs roughly 2,000 people, according to the union. An explosion at a blast furnace killed four in November. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr, writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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