Lime kiln explodes at Taiwan’s notorious steel plant in Vietnam

By Duc Hung   May 31, 2017 | 09:53 am GMT+7
Lime kiln explodes at Taiwan’s notorious steel plant in Vietnam
Smoke fills up a part at Formosa steel plant in Ha Tinh Province after an explosion on Tuesday night. Photo by VnExpress

Operations at the Formosa plant resumed this week after being halted for a year due to a toxic spill disaster.

A lime kiln at Formosa Plastics Group’s steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh exploded during operation on Tuesday night. No casualties have been reported.

A Ha Tinh official said the explosion happened at around 9 p.m.

Workers who were one kilometer away described the noise as “deafening” and “ground-shaking.”

The authorities sent 10 fire trucks to the site as smoke filled up the area in minutes, they said.

Ha Tinh officials said no one was hurt in the incident. Formosa is reportedly trying to find out what happened.

The explosion occurred less than two days after the notorious plant was allowed to restart operation after causing one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

In April last year, the $11 billion steel plant spilled toxic waste that polluted more than 200 km (125 miles) of coastline in Ha Tinh and three nearby provinces, devastating sea life and local economies dependent on fishing and tourism.

Formosa has paid $500 million in compensation although people in the affected provinces have continued protesting to demand more compensation.

Vietnam’s environment officials said Formosa has met requirements to test-run its first blast furnace.

Ha Tinh officials said the lime kiln that exploded on Tuesday is not part of the furnace.

Formosa is expected to produce 1.3-1.6 million tons of steel by the end of the year. It is expected to also operate the second blast furnace next year.