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Explosion kills two at steel plant in Brazil

16 August 2017

An explosion at a Brazilian steel plant operated by Gerdau SA killed two people and injured 10 others on August 16, the company and a local metalworkers union said. The blast occurred at a coke oven at Gerdau's plant in the state of Minas Gerais, according to the Metalworking Union of Ouro Branco (Sindob).

It was the second major accident in less than a year at the steel plant, which employs roughly 2,000 people. A blast furnace explosion killed four in November.

The plant's operations were not affected by the latest incident. Gerdau said in a statement the plant's equipment was in adequate condition and conformed with safety standards under current law. The company was investigating the cause of the accident and assisting the families of the victims, it said.

Sindob said it is preparing a protest over the incident which it attributed to lack of maintenance at the plant, according to Reuters.

The company website says Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the world’s largest suppliers of special long steel. It has plants in 14 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia, with total installed capacity of more than 20 million metric tons of steel. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and the world, transforming around 16 million metric tons of scrap into steel every year.

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