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Henan Yuguang stepping up safety measures after lethal March explosion

Shanghai-listed Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co. is implementing stricter safety requirements across its production units after an explosion at its anode slime pretreatment plant in China's Henan province killed three people in March, according to CFO Miao Hongqiang.

Miao told investors during a June 2 webcast that the company is sending investigation teams to each subsidiary to review operational conditions and procedures, launching training programs to promote work safety responsibility among all employees, and requiring some units to crack down on potential safety hazards.

"We will continue to ramp up supervision and precautionary measures to prevent work accidents," Miao said.

"These measures will increase the company's production and operation costs," he added. "The company plans to improve efficiency to offset the potential increases."

In late 2016, the gold and lead producer raised 1.53 billion Chinese yuan to expand its disposable lead-acid battery recycling business.

Miao said construction for the recycling unit would be completed in three years and the company had signed deals with local suppliers in Henan and Zhejiang provinces to acquire waste lead accumulators for the unit.

"We are also considering capacity upgrade plans for our precious metals and copper operations," Miao said.

As for its zinc smelting business, Miao Yu, deputy director at Henan Yuguang, denied that the company had joined a group of Chinese smelters in placing 540,000 tonnes of annual production capacity on care and maintenance because of a slump in processing fees.

"The current maintenance being conducted is in line with a plan that was set out at the beginning of this year and will not affect our annual production capacity," he said.

As of June 1, US$1 was equivalent to 6.81 Chinese yuan.