28 Jun 2010

Vale worker flown to Sydney for acid burn treatment

12:41 pm on 28 June 2010

A worker's been flown to Australia for treatment for acid burns while working at the Vale nickel mining plant in New Caledonia.

Noumea's daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports the 54 year old man was treated in the capital last week for second degree burns to 20 percent of his body.

He was then flown to Sydney for specialist medical treatment.

The newspaper reports the worker was burnt after a jet of sulphuric acid used in the nickel and cobalt extraction process shot beyond the normal limit.

The incident has revived debate over safety at the Brazilian-owned plant.

Formerly known as Vale Inco, it was strongly criticised after a massive acid spill in April last year.

The leak killed thousands of fish and affected the World Heritage protected Prony Bay during a test run of Vale New Caledonia's new facility.