March 31, 2019 / 9:27 AM / 23 days ago

RPT-China plant explosion kills 7; second blast in Jiangsu province this month

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BEIJING, March 31 (Reuters) - A plant explosion in China’s Jiangsu province has killed seven people, state media reported on Sunday, 10 days after a blast at a pesticide plant killed 78 people in the province and triggered a nationwide safety inspection campaign.

Sunday’s blast involved a container of scrap metal that caught fire in a metal-molding plant in a bonded area in the city of Kunshan, state news agency Xinhua said.

The cause of the blast which killed seven people and injured five others was under investigation, Xinhua said.

The plant is owned by Kunshan Waffer Technology Corp Ltd. , a Taiwan-based manufacturer of magnesium alloy injection molding products and aluminium alloy die castings.

Kunshan, about 70 km (43 miles) west of Shanghai, is home to more than 1,000 technology companies and manufacturers, including many Taiwanese firms.

The incident follows a deadly blast on March 21 at a chemical park in the city of Yancheng, also in Jiangsu province, that killed 78 people and focused attention on safety at small chemical firms.

China last week launched a month-long, nationwide inspection campaign into hazardous chemicals, mines, transportation and fire safety, saying authorities needed to absorb lessons from the Yancheng disaster.

China has clamped down on scrap metal imports as part of an environmental campaign against “foreign garbage”, tightening supply sources for metal producers, as it aims to cut solid waste imports by the end of 2020.

The country has a history of major work safety accidents which often trigger inspection campaigns aimed at rooting out violations and punishing officials for cutting corners or shirking their supervisory duties. (Reporting by Yawen Chen and Tom Daly; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

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