January 6, 2017 / 9:39 AM / 7 months ago

Nippon Steel's Oita heavy plate plant shut after fire

A logo of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp is pictured outside its headquarters in Tokyo November 9, 2012.Yuriko Nakao/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's biggest steelmaker Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp said a factory at its Oita site in western Japan that makes heavy plates for shipbuilding was shut after a fire outbreak on Thursday that was extinguished after 35 hours.

A company spokeswoman on Friday said Nippon Steel could not yet estimate how much damage might have been caused, nor how long it would take to resume operations at the plant on the island of Kyushu. The cause of the outbreak was unknown, she said.

There were no injuries in the fire, which started in an electrical room in the heavy plate plant at around 2 a.m. local time on Thursday and was put out at around 1 p.m. on Friday, the spokeswoman said.

Other facilities at the Oita site, including blast furnaces, were not affected and were operating normally, she said.

The Oita site produced 2.6 million tonnes of heavy plates in the financial year ended March 2016, making it the biggest of the company's four heavy plate plants in Japan.

"We are considering shifting some of Oita's production to other plants to secure supplies to our customers," the spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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