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Asarco's Hayden smelter shut after mishap

HAYDEN, Ariz. -- A mishap at copper miner Asarco LLC's Hayden smelter damaged the plant and will shut down operations for about a week as repairs are made.

Asarco vice president for environmental affairs Thomas Aldrich says molten metal broke out of the side walls of the flash furnace at about 4:30 a.m. Friday. The molten copper hit nearby water pipes, triggering a series of explosion-like concussions.

No one was injured and the company handled the problem with its own workers.

Aldrich says about 350 workers at the plant 100 miles southeast of Phoenix will stay on the job as repairs are made. The plant refines about 400 tons of copper a day to about 99 percent purity. The finished product is then sent to Asarco's refinery in Amarillo, Texas, for final processing.

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