Formosa Plastics Group's Vietnam steel plant hit by dust explosion

TAIPEI, May 31 (Reuters) - An explosion rocked Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group’s new steel plant in Vietnam late on Tuesday but there were no casualties and it would have little impact on preparations for the launch of production, an executive said.

The so-called dust explosion was caused by the sudden combustion of fine particles in the air and was the result of an equipment malfunction at the plant, which is in test mode, Chang Fu-ning, an executive vice president of Ha Tinh Steel, said.

“Our equipment which collects dust suffered an explosion. We immediately cut off the power supply for a security check. We’re trying to find out what caused it,” Chang told Reuters by phone.

“There was no fire, damage or casualties as a result,” he said. “The test-runs are still ongoing.”

The explosion on Tuesday night near the blast furnace did not severely affect operations at the plant, which a day earlier started a test run, news website said. (Reporting by Faith Hung in TAIPEI and My Pham in HANOI; Editing by Stephen Coates)