A powerful explosion in a blast furnace of the country’s largest steel plant, Pakistan Steel Mills, ceased steel manufacturing, sources said. They said that Pakistan steel’s blast furnace-2 is already shut down for the last few months due to unavailability of raw material; now another blast furnace-1, has also stopped steel production.
Shazim Akhtar, the spokesman for Pakistan Steel, has also confirmed that blast furnace-1 experienced a powerful explosion on midnight Tuesday, bringing steel-making process to a halt. A tube of blast furnace-1 was blown up, he said and added that after the repairs it was now about to start production. According to spokesman, a committee has been constituted to ascertain the reasons behind the explosion.
Sources said Pakistan Steel Mills’ production has already declined to one percent due to unavailability of raw material due to a severe financial crunch. They said that some 800 tons of coke arrived on Monday evening and the incident happened after the reheating of blast furnace-1, which was producing one or two heats per day. Sources said Pakistan Steel is facing a serious crisis of raw material as stocks of coke and iron ore have almost exhausted and PSM has no funds to procure new raw material. Mismanagement and non technical leadership have pushed the country’s largest steel plant on the verge of collapse, they added. Employees of Pakistan Steel have not been paid their salaries for the last three months. Sources said CEO Wasif Mehmood is not taking interest to resolve mills’ issues.