* Plant was closed on Thursday due to fire
* No.2 plant still shut, restart date unclear
* Copper premiums rose on plant closures -trade (Adds detail, background)
By Meeyoung Cho
SEOUL, May 26 (Reuters) - LS-Nikko Copper’s No.1 unit is operating normally following a restart over the weekend after it was closed due to a brief fire at a cooling tower on Thursday, a spokesman for the South Korean company said.
But the firm’s No.2 plant remains shut after a steam explosion that injured eight workers earlier this month. The LS-Nikko spokesman said on Monday that it was not yet clear when this plant would restart.
The plant closures have been supporting metal prices, with buyers finding it difficult to source alternative supplies. Physical premiums - the cost paid above London Metal Exchange cash prices to take delivery of the metal - had climbed above $100 from $65-70 two weeks ago, a trader said.
Japan’s JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp indirectly owns 40 percent of LS-Nikko.
Both plants - No.1 with 200,000 tonnes per year of copper production capacity and No.2 with 290,000 tpy - are in the southeastern port city of Ulsan. (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney; Editing by Joseph Radford)