MOROWALI, Indonesia: A tragic explosion at the PT Indonesia Tsingshan Stainless Steel plant in the Morowali Industrial Park, Central Sulawesi province, has resulted in a devastating toll—12 people dead and 39 injured, according to a spokesperson for the industrial complex.
The incident occurred around 5:30 am local time during repair work on a furnace, leading to the ignition of a flammable liquid and subsequent explosions of nearby oxygen tanks.
The victims include seven Indonesians and five foreign workers, although the nationalities of the foreign workers have not been disclosed. An initial investigation points to the explosion during repair work, triggering a chain reaction of events.
— GeetaPillai (@GeetaaPillai) December 24, 2023
The Morowali Industrial Park, a hub for Indonesia’s nickel production—an essential component for electric vehicle batteries and stainless steel—has witnessed growing investment from China. However, this incident adds to existing concerns over working conditions, echoing a riot in January at a nickel smelting plant in the same industrial park. The riot, sparked during a protest over safety conditions and pay, resulted in two fatalities, including a Chinese national.
The tragedy has reignited discussions about the need for stringent safety measures in industrial facilities, especially those backed by foreign investments. The industry faces scrutiny amid calls for improved working conditions to prevent such unfortunate incidents in the future.