PERTH, July 23 -- Horsehead Holding Corp., a U.S. zinc producer, has suffered an explosion at a smelter in western Pennsylvania that killed two workers and injured one, Associated Press reported, citing authorities.
The explosion, which occurred around 4:30 p.m. yesterday local time, involved a refinery column that produces zinc oxide, Horsehead spokesman Ali Alavi was quoted as saying. It didn't say how production at the smelter had been affected.
After-hours calls to Horsehead's Pittsburgh headquarters by Bloomberg News were unanswered today.
The facility in Monaca, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, has about 600 employees, Alavi was quoted as saying. Investigations are under way to determine the cause of the explosion, he said, adding his understanding was that there was no fire.
Horsehead's shares closed 42 cents, or 5.5 percent, higher at $8.09 yesterday, valuing the company at $351 million.
The Monaca plant operates as the country's largest zinc smelter, producing primarily metal and oxide, according to its website. The facility is recognized as the world's largest user of recycled zinc-bearing materials, it said.
The company was formed in 2003 from New Jersey Zinc Co. and St. Joe Resources Co., the website said.