The fatal incident is expected to result in a one-week delay in maintenance work on PM 1 but the machine will then resume full operation.
Three people have been killed and seven more injured in an explosion that had hit Packaging Corporation of America's (PCA) DeRidder, Louisiana, containerboard mill on 8 February. The incident involved annual repair work being performed on piping in the pulp mill area and resulted in three contractor fatalities, PCA reported.
According to PCA, the PM 1 kraftliner machine was down for its annual outage at the time of the incident. PCA expects a delay in annual outage work on PM 1 of up to one week due to the incident. The DeRidder PM 3 containerboard machine was running and continued to operate, the company explained.
The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing. The US federal agency for chemical safety Chemical Safety Board (CBS) reported on 9 February it had sent three investigators to the PCA DeRidder plant. "The explosion took place while contractors performed welding on a tank during a facility shut down," CBS explained citing initial reports.
PCA runs two containerboard machines at the DeRidder mill with an installed annual capacity of 866,000 t (955,000 sh.t). In 2015, PM 1 produced 524,000 t (578,000 sh.t) of kraftliner; PM 3 produced 270,000 t (297,000 sh.t) of corrugating medium and linerboard with varying virgin and recycled fiber content.
PM 3 was converted from a newsprint machine to a containerboard machine in 2014. PM 3 has an installed capacity of 322,000 t (355,000 sh.t).
Two weeks before another US kraftliner mill, International Paper Pensacola mill had been rocked by an explosion. The mill in Cantonment, Florida, had experienced significant structural damage to the largest pulp digester as well as the power house but the company had reported no injuries or fatalities.