Fire wrecks Zambia oil refinery

2005-11-10 21:55

Lusaka - A fire has wrecked Zambia's only oil refinery only a month after it reopened following a five-week shutdown, forcing a renewed suspension of production, an official said on Thursday.

The fire swept through one of the production units and destroyed the furnace at the Indeni Oil Refinery Company on Tuesday night, said provincial minister George Mpombo.

"The company is still investigating the cause of the fire and the impact it has caused on the machinery," Mpombo said after visiting the plant in northern Zambia's Copperbelt province.

He said a worker at the plant had been admitted to hospital with serious burns.

Mpombo was sacked as energy minister last month for shortcomings in dealing with severe fuel shortages sparked by the closure of Indeni for maintenance in September.

The refinery failed to reopen on schedule for lack of a chemical to restart the process.

This is the second time the refinery has been damaged by fire. In 1999 it was gutted and took two years to resume operations.