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Major fire hits Chilean port, Codelco operations unaffected


A major fire broke out at Chile’s Ventanas port near a refinery and smelter belonging to state-run miner Coldeco, but the company said on Thursday that operations have not been affected by the blaze.

Codelco’s smelter near the port was already shut down due to maintenance, while the refinery is operating normally, according to Codelco, the world’s top copper producer.

No injuries have been reported from the fire, the company that administers the port said in a statement. It said the incident occurred in a solid bulk cargo conveyor belt and spread to other nearby facilities.

Local media published images showing large amounts of dark smoke billowing out from the port, located about 90 miles (145 kilometres) northwest of the capital Santiago.

AES Chile, which operates a coal-fired power plant near the port, said in a statement that it is taking all measures to prevent the fire from reaching its installations.

It added that unit 2 of its plant, which is closest to the blaze, has been taken offline due to company security protocols, while other units are operating normally.