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South Korean copper plant to shut for at least 2 weeks

imageHONG KONG: The LS-Nikko copper plant in South Korea is expected to halt production for at least two weeks after an explosion caused injuries, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday, as the shutdown drove up copper prices.

Eight workers were injured in the explosion, which occurred during maintenance at the smelter on Tuesday.

Benchmark copper prices on the London Metal Exchange rose by more than 1 percent to a two-month high at $6,928 per tonne on Wednesday.

One of the sources said that at least 250,000 tonnes of annual capacity at the smelter had shut and was unlikely to restart for at least two weeks, cutting the firm's overall output.

A spokesman for LS-Nikko Copper said: "As an internal investigation has not been completed, it is hard to say how long the halt will be."

The investigation of the incident may take up to two weeks, said another source, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to talk to media.

He added that the maintenance could continue through the end of May.

"It (the investigation) would be just one week or two weeks then the maintenance would continue," the source said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014