Durban - There will be no job losses at the NCT wood chip mill in Richards Bay after a fire that lasted more than a week ravaged stock piles and threatened neighbouring companies.
So said general manager Danny Knoesen, who confirmed on Wednesday that the fire had been extinguished.
“We guaranteed no job losses to our employees and hope we can start production again and sell products in the next six months and call the ships back from our customers. We are doing an evaluation. Risk assessors have been on site, and we are waiting to hear how that goes. We are not expecting any issues, and we have started formulating what to rebuild first,” he said.
Knoesen said the company had two product lines, including black wattle chips and gum eucalyptus chips.
He said NCT dealt with customers from Japan and China who had long-term contracts. Knoesen said the fire had also placed production for its customers in jeopardy.
The Mercury reported on Wednesday that an investigation was under way to determine why dozens of fish were found dead in the Mzingazi Canal in Richards Bay after the fire broke out.
Knoesen said NCT was working on an environmental recovery plan with environmental and engineering consultants GroundTruth and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to mitigate the impact of the fire.
GroundTruth would be on site to test the dead fish and sediment and monitor oxygen levels and fish that were in the canal, he said. The results would be shared.
Knoesen said the company realised it had placed a burden on the local community and needed to make sure its response was appropriate.