UPDATE 1-Eight workers injured in South Korean copper plant explosion

Tue May 13, 2014 11:09am EDT

(Adds confirmation, details from company spokesman)

SEOUL May 13 (Reuters) - Eight workers were injured in an explosion on Tuesday at a copper smelter operated by metals group LS-Nikko in the South Korean city of Ulsan, the company said.

A spokesman said the blast occurred as the plant's No.2 smelter, which has a capacity of 290,000 tonnes of copper per year, was due to be closed for one day of maintenance.

"Right before the maintenance work started, there was a steam explosion at the end of a route where copper liquid flows," spokesman Shin Dong-gwang told Reuters. He said it was unclear when the smelter would reopen.

One worker had second-degree burns and the other seven were slightly injured, he added.

The No. 1 smelter at the plant has a capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year. (Reporting By Meeyoung Cho and Amran Abocar; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)