Indonesian workers protest after deadly blast at nickel plant

Among those killed in the blast was Muhammad Taufik, a 40-year-old welder who left behind a wife and two children.

“The family is grieving, he was the breadwinner,” Taufik’s cousin Parlin Hidayat told AFP, adding that ITSS had given the family compensation worth 600 million rupiah (US$30,625) after the accident.

“They hope there will be no more incidents like this in the future, let him be the last victim.”

Thirty people are being treated in hospital for their injuries after the blast, according to police.

Dedy Kurniawan, a spokesperson for Morowali Industrial Park, told AFP that the company had “done what they (the protesters) demanded two days ago”, without specifying which demands had been met.

“We hope this demonstration will not continue after they hear our explanation,” he said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Wednesday that eight Chinese nationals were among the dead, and that Beijing was “extremely saddened” by the accident.

“I would like to emphasise that China has always placed high importance on safe production on overseas projects funded by Chinese capital,” she said at a daily press briefing.

Tsingshan Holding Group, the world’s biggest nickel producer and China’s biggest stainless steelmaker, holds a majority stake in ITSS.

ITSS is a tenant in the industrial park, which is also majority-owned by Tsingshan along with local partner Bintang Delapan.

In January, two workers, one of whom was a Chinese national, were killed at a nickel smelting plant in the same industrial park after a riot broke out during a protest over safety conditions and pay.

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