A fire broke out overnight at the copper plant in the eastern Serbian town of Bor where extreme pollution levels have been reported over the past few months, local media reported on Thursday.
The fire broke out at the smelting facility in a gas pipeline between the plant and a sulfuric acid production facility. The Istmedia portal said that the stench of the burning polyester pipes was reported across the town. There were no immediate reports of damages to the copper smelting facility whose construction cost 350 million Euro and was financed from the state budget.
Zijin Copper Serbia said in a press release on Thursday that it had stopped operation of the smelter and started its overhaul because of increased flue gas emmissions due to equipment failure. “The Company expresses regret over such unforeseen situation. It was confirmed after investigation that the causes of the excessive gas emission were serious damage to very old equipment for electrical precipitation facility and acid producing facility, which leads to an increase in flue gas overflow,” it said.
Extremely high pollution levels have been reported in Bor since the Chinese Zijin company took over the RTB Bor mining and smelting complex in partnership with the Serbian government. The pollution is so high that the local authorities filed criminal charges. Serbian media quoted Zijin employees who said that copper production has been stopped because of the pollution.