Sidor halts plate output after fatal accident

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Venezuelan steelmaker Sidor closed down its plate production area for 24 hours following a fatal accident.

"When an accident like this happens workers will - because of fear, solidarity, security and other motives - stop operations," the company's labor director Jhonny Luna told BNamericas.

On this occasion production was stopped for 24 hours but basic industries and mining (Mibam) minister, and president of Sidor, Rodolfo Sanz following the stoppage ordered blast furnaces 5 and 6 to be shut down for repairs.

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"The minister has promised to find the resources necessary to invest in plant safety and avoid more deaths," Luna said.

He added that this week several technical roundtables would be held for Sidor managers to calculate the amount needed to make these improvements.

A technical commission was also formed to decide whether or not the plate area could safely run furnaces 1 and 2 or if further investments in safety are needed first.


According to Luna, for now there is no date set for when operations will resume. "Everything depends on what the board decides. We hope it reaches a decision this week," he said.

Sidor was nationalized 15 months ago and since then six workers have died in labor-related accidents. In the 10 years the plant was controlled by the Ternium (NYSE: TX) group, 18 total workers died in accidents.

The Sidor plant is located in Ciudad Guayana and has liquid steel capacity of 4.2Mt/y.