Chilean mining city of Calama rocked by blast at explosives factory

© Reuters.

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A large blast rocked the northern Chilean mining city of Calama on Friday afternoon after what local officials said was a nitroglycerine explosion at a plant run by Enaex, a company that produces explosives for the mining industry.

The explosion shook buildings and set off car alarms up to 25 kilometres away from the plant, and generated a massive column of smoke that stretched high into the sky.

As firefighters rushed to the scene, police cordoned off the area.

Daniel Agusto, the mayor of Calama, which is close to several major mines run by state miner Codelco, including Ministro Hales, Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic, said authorities were seeking to determine if anyone had been killed or injured.

“The explosion was felt practically throughout the city of Calama,” he told CNN’s local TV station. “It was due to the uncontrolled detonation of nitroglycerine in one of the company’s plants.”

Reuters was unable to immediately obtain comment from Enaex.

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