Assmang Cato Ridge furnace expected to reopen soon

24 April 2008

Assmang Limited is in discussion with the Department of Labour regarding the lifting of the prohibition on the operation of Furnace 2 at its Cato Ridge Works. The prohibition was imposed as from 22 April 2008 following a small burn through on the shell of the furnace. . Assmang Cato Ridge Works had shut down the furnace on Saturday, 19 April 2008 immediately following the burn through.

Assmang Limited would like to emphasise that burn throughs of this nature are not unusual occurrences in furnace operations in South Africa and around the world. The Cato Ridge Works has standard practices for repairing burn throughs and repairs were completed this morning. In line with its re-sharpened focus on safety, Assmang Cato Ridge Works also employed the services of an external refractory expert to confirm its course of action. There was no danger to employees or risk to the plant.

Regarding the worker injured on 10 April 2008 on Furnace 3, once again there are standard operating procedures in an event like this and these were immediately followed. This injury is in no way related to the incident on Furnace 2. The employee received first aid at the on-site clinic and returned to work the next day. Says Princess Thwala, Senior General Manager at the Cato Ridge Works, “This was a minor injury but we will not tolerate deviations from our standard health and safety procedures and are therefore investigating whether procedures were followed. Full safety equipment and clothing is provided to all employees, according to the needs of their job.”