August 15, 2018 / 10:00 PM / 5 months ago

Brazil steelmaker Usiminas reopens plant in wake of explosion

SAO PAULO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian steelmaker Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A said on Wednesday that it has resumed activity in a blast furnace that was partially damaged by an explosion last week that left 34 workers injured.

The explosion on Friday had blasted through a container used to store gases that are released during the steel production process, leading the plant to shut down. Usiminas partially had restored production in its plant by Monday.

In a second accident on Monday, a 36-year old contractor, “was carrying out previously scheduled maintenance activities in the plant when he suffered an accident” that resulted in his arm getting amputated, the company said, without elaborating.

Usiminas is one of the largest steelmakers in the region, and its plant in Ipatinga, where both incidents took place, produced 813,000 tons of crude steel between April and June, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

It remains unclear how the explosion on Friday will affect production. (Reporting by Albeto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun and Diane Craft)

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