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China lithium plant explosion claims second fatality

15 January 2013

Australian lithium producer Galaxy Resources confirmed on January 15 that a second worker has died from his injuries following the November 22 incident at its Jiangsu lithium carbonate plant in China, when an explosion killed one worker immediately and seriously injured others.

Investigators found that an abnormal blockage in the plant’s vertical crystalliser held up a mass of sodium sulphate liquid, which in turn caused pipework to rupture.

Galaxy said: "Due to the highly abnormal nature of the incident the risk of this type of incident was not identified by the plant designers in the design documentation or safety studies". China's Suzhou Safety Bureau has conducted an investigation into the event and confirmed the abnormal nature of the event

Galaxy is using the plant shutdown time to make modifications to the plant to improve operability and throughput. Subject to government approval, the Company plans to complete the refurbishment and shutdown work and be in a position to re-commence operations in early-February 2013.

Galaxy has lithium production facilities, hard rock mines and brine assets in Australia, China, Canada and Argentina.

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