Damage at chemical factory Melamin estimated at around EUR 36m

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Kočevje – The damage caused by the fire at the chemical factory Melamin in Kočevje last Thursday has been estimated at around EUR 36 million. The company will seek EU funding for renovation.

CEO Srečko Štefanič said the management had presented details of the accident to supervisors today and they had backed the plans for mending the damage and gradual re-launching of production.

The monthly wages for the past month will be covered by insurance, and the management and supervisors agreed to keep wages level for the next six months.

The management plans to gradually re-launch production since a small part of production facilities was not affected by the accident and could be re-started relatively quickly.

In line with the plan, the entire production could be restored in a year and half, Štefanič told the STA.

Melamin will also turn to the Ministry for Economic Development and Technology and ask for activation of the EU instrument for covering damage of major accidents.

Štefanič is to meet the economy, finance and labour ministers on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Clean-up and decontamination of the factory area after the fire that claimed five lives is still under way, according to the CEO.

The accident at Melamin, which produces plastic materials, paints, varnishes and other coatings and chemical products, not far from the centre of Kočevje, took place on Thursday morning.

Apart from the five dead, six Melamin workers were injured, including two who sustained life-threatening injuries.

The explosion occurred when epichlorohydrin, a volatile substance that was being transferred from a tank truck to an on-site cistern, burst into flames.

The precise cause of the blast remained unclear but it was likely the result of human error.