Friday, April 19, 2024

Another smelter fire in Morowali: Chronology

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Audina Nur

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Only less than a month after a previous incident, another smelter fire occurred in the Morowali industrial area, Central Sulawesi, on Friday, January 19, 2024, affecting the smelter furnace owned by PT Sulawesi Mining Investment (SMI).

According to reports from the industrial park manager, the PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP), the fire was triggered by the overflow of slag or waste liquid.

“On Friday, January 19, 2024, around 7:40 pm Central Indonesia Time, furnace 1 at SMI’s smelter caused the slag inside to spill and spread to the smelter’s ground floor,” said IMIP management, as quoted on Sunday. The spilled slag exposed the electrical cables in the smelter area to heat, prompting the immediate shutdown of the power supply to prevent an explosion.

PT IMIP ensured the evacuation of all employees working in the affected area. Additionally, four fire trucks were dispatched to cool down the spilled slag.

“After approximately 45 minutes, the spilled slag was successfully cooled down,” PT IMIP said , while adding that the situation in PT SMI has returned to normal. Yet, PT SMI has temporarily suspended the operation of furnace 1 for investigation and repairs.

In the aftermath of the smelter incident, at least two employees were evacuated for observation and treatment in the company’s clinic. They were allowed to return home about two later. Katsaing, Executive Committee Chairman of the Labor Party in Morowali Regency, confirmed that no casualties were reported in the latest smelter incident.

Previously, an explosion and fire occurred at the nickel smelter owned by PT Indonesia Tsingshan Stainless Steel (PT ITSS) in the IMIP area on Sunday, December 24, 2023. Reports said 18 workers died in the December 24 fire and explosion, namely 10 Indonesian workers and 8 foreign workers from China.

Audina Nur

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

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