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Aurubis ‘deeply saddened’ by worker deaths

Aurubis' Hamburg primary smelter

An investigation is underway into the cause of a nitrogen leak at an Aurubis smelter in Germany which resulted in the death of three employees.

It happened in the early hours of 11 May at the Primary Smelter Plant East in Hamburg. Two employees succumbed to their injuries in hospital later that day and a third died four days afterwards. A memorial service was held on 16 May.

‘We are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy,’ said Aurubis ceo Roland Harings. ‘Our hearts go out to their loved ones and everyone else affected. We want to express our deepest sympathy.’

Regular maintenance

Aurubis said it was working closely with the authorities as they conducted a detailed investigation into ‘the root cause of the accident’. On the day of the incident, the company said a leak of nitrogen occurred while the three employees were conducting regular maintenance on the Primary Smelter Plant East, a central part of metal production in Hamburg. 

‘Rescue workers and the Plant Fire Department were immediately deployed. At no time was there any danger to the neighbours or the environment.’

Although the plant is a primary smelter, the company says ‘they also use copper scrap to a certain extent’.

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