Job fears for Orica plant

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Orica has not ruled out shedding jobs following the total shutdown of its Kooragang Island plant after the latest ammonia leak.

Last week around 900 kilograms of ammonia gas escaped from a 20 tonne vat over 15 minutes at the Kooragang plant.

It was the latest in a recent spate of serious leaks, which included hexavalent chromium and arsenic leaks earlier this year.

The Newcastle Herald reports Orica is providing “other jobs” for the 300 or so workers affected by the current shutdown.

Orica managing director Graeme Liebelt said the company would “avoid staff stand downs wherever possible” but stopped short of guaranteeing jobs.

Last week’s ammonia gas leak sent two people to hospital after they suffered breathing difficulties.

Orica is already under intense political and public scrutiny over the Kooragang plant.

Both the company and the NSW Government have been strongly criticised for delays in notifying the public of previous leaks.

The Government has also moved to change legislation regarding pollution breaches following the Orica leaks.

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