The Proagar plat that set on fire produced agar agar from marine algae. (Photo: Stock File)
Losses of USD 5 million as fire burns down plant
Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
On Sunday a fire destroyed wineries, a casino and the offices of the company Proagar S.A.
, located in the town of Llanquihue in Los Lagos.
According to initial estimates of the value of their seaweed, the losses will amount to some USD 5 million or so, in an area which is nearly 25,000 square meters in size.
All the fire brigades from Llanquihue worked to fight the fire, supported by reinforcements from Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas.
According to the Chief Fire Inspector of Llanquihue, Claudio Werner, they also worked to protect chemicals stored in Proagar.
Despite millions in losses, the incident caused no injuries to workers.
After the fire, numerous labour union members met with executives to assess the situation at Proagar.
The aim of the firm is to "keep 100 per cent of jobs and begin to rebuild the plant," said workers' union secretary, Luis Kamel, to radio Bío Bío.
He also thanked the managements commitment to employees at the company.
It is estimated that the reconstruction of facilities will take between six and eight months.
Proagar is a Chilean company founded in 1983 by Japanese investment.
The manufacturing plant is located on the river Maullín, where it produces agar-agar from Gracilaria chilensis seaweed, harvested from cultivation centres in the area.
The company exports its products to Japan, Russia, United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and South America.
By Analia Murias