U.S. News

Bonnell Aluminum shuts production at Georgia plant after blast

(Reuters) - Aluminum extruder Bonnell Aluminum has temporarily shut down operations at its Newnan, Georgia, plant following an explosion on Wednesday morning that injured five employees, the company said in a statement.

The company said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the accident, but was working closely with local fire officials in an investigation.

The explosion occurred in the casting area of the plant, the company said. Extrusion is the process of shaping material, such as aluminum, by forcing it to flow through an opening in a die. Bonnell makes extrusions for the building and construction and automotive markets as well as for specialty applications like refrigerators and air conditioners.

A prolonged outage at the plant could reduce the amount of primary and scrap aluminum consumed by the company, potentially contributing further to a global glut that has sent prices tumbling about 30 percent from their 2014 peak.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.7 percent at $1,635.50 per tonne as of 12:36 p.m. EDT (1636 GMT).

One of the injured employees was airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta, two were transported to a local hospital and two were treated at the scene. The explosion occurred at approximately 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT).

A spokeswoman for the Newnan police said it was not a situation involving hazardous materials.

Bonnell is a subsidiary of Tredegar Corp.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe