COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

TOTAL, GENERAL GAS

FINALIZE YEMEN PACT

PARIS - French oil group Total said it signed a final agreement with General Gas Corp. of Yemen to build and operate a liquefied natural gas production unit in Yemen.

The $3 billion project will produce 5 million metric tons of LNG a year for 25 years, it said. Preliminary agreements were signed on March 21 and May 24 this year. Implementation remains subject to approval by the Yemen parliament.

GOLD MINERS CONTINUE

SOUTH AFRICAN STRIKE

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Production at South African gold producer East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM) had still not resumed Thursday after a strike by workers over pay increases.

A spokesman for the Randgold and Exploration-owned operation, Dirk van Eeden, said: "the majority of the mine's 5,300 employees" put down their tools Tuesday night after rejecting a 7.5 percent annual pay increase.

The giant National Union of Mineworkers had agreed to the pay raise on behalf of ERPM employees.

Mr. Van Eeden said management was in talks with workers, who were holding a mass meeting Thursday morning.

ROOF FIRE DAMAGES

RUSSIAN NICKEL PLANT

MURMANSK, Russia - A fire at Russian nickel-copper producer Pechenga Nickel has destroyed a roasting shop, Russia's Interfax News Agency reported Thursday.

The Murmansk regional office of the Emergencies Ministry has said that the shop's roof caught fire Wednesday due to safety violations during welding work. An area of 600 square meters of the shop's roof caved in. All equipment in the shop was destroyed.

The fire occurred during the lunch break and there were no casualties. One worker who took part in extinguishing the fire was slightly hurt and taken to hospital. It took 10 fire brigades three hours to extinguish the fire.

The extent of the damage is being estimated and a criminal investigation is under way.

Pechenga Nickel is part of the giant Norilsk Nickel group and last year produced 86,500 metric tons of converter matte containing 38,600 metric tons of nickel and 23,400 metric tons of copper.