APSN Banner

Nickel smelter in East Kalimantan explodes, shattering residents' homes

Tempo - May 18, 2024

Riri Rahayu, Jakarta – Another nickel smelter in Kalimantan has exploded. A nickel smelter owned by PT Kalimantan Ferro Industry (PT KFI) in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, exploded on Thursday and Friday, May 16-17.

Marjianto, a resident of the Pendingin neighborhood, said the first blast shattered people's houses. "Many of the houses here are made of wood. There are only a few houses with walls and all of them were cracked [after the blast]," he told Tempo on Saturday, May 18.

The number of cracked houses in the area is said to be 20. Marjianto suspects that the real number is higher. "For the entire factory area, it could be hundreds, because the KFI factory is surrounded by 8 neighborhoods," he said.

Marjianto said the people say the residents feel disadvantaged by this incident. In addition, the people are already suffering from the noise and pollution caused by the factory's daily activities. Even after the two explosions, the factory continues to operate normally.

"So far, the company is still operating. Meanwhile, we are still preparing a report to submit to the company," Marjianto said.

Owner Representative of PT KFI M. Ardhi Soemargo confirmed the two explosions at the KFI smelter. On Thursday, May 16, at 18:40 Central Indonesia Time (WITA), a loud bang on the discharge side of the nickel slag created sparks, he explained.

The sparks rise from the heat source of the nickel slag pool. The incident lasted for a few minutes and resulted in one worker being injured, while another worker was hit by the explosive dust.

"We can say that the temporary cause is due to a congestion in the slag exhaust cooling stream, which caused the explosion," Ardhi said in a written statement.

On Friday, the factory ran normally and workers returned to do their jobs as usual.

But another explosion occurred late Friday at 23:45 local time. Ardhi did not elaborate on the chronology of the second incident, saying that it was only a small explosion in the waste pit area, but not dangerous. Therefore, the smelter area of PT KFI was claimed to be safe.

Regarding the residents' shattered houses, Ardhi said his office would send a team to inspect the condition. "If the houses are indeed [cracked] due to the incident, we will be responsible," he said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1869308/nickel-smelter-in-east-kalimantan-explodes-shattering-residents-home