An explosion at a joint venture facility in Argentina is likely to lead to reduced capacity of soyameal and soya oil for several weeks, AgriCensus reported on 21 October.

The incident took place late on Tuesday 20 October at the Terminal 6 Facility at San Lorenzo, a joint venture between global agribusiness giant Bunge and Argentine agricultural products company Aceitera General Deheza SA (AGD), AgriCensus said.

Bunge had confirmed the incident but had declined to comment on the level of damage at the plant, AgriCensus said. However, market and trade sources were reported to have said that the explosion had taken place at a drying unit at the 10,000 tonnes/day crusher.

“No employees were injured and the situation is under control. We will be conducting a detailed investigation of the incident to determine the cause and when we can expect to safely resume operations,” Bunge were reported by AgriCensus as saying in a statement.

Offers for soya meal and oil both increased by 2-3% the day after the incident at the Up River port complex.

The complex was home to the world’s largest hub of crushers and was the biggest exporter of soya oil and soya meal, AgriCensus said.

The Bunge/AGD plant was not believed to be in operation at the time of the incident due to a 24-hour strike at the facility.

“The damage is mostly at the drying facility and not important, so it should not cause great delays (to exports). I think delays would/could be due to security/safety reasons for the people to get back to work,” a Buenos Aires source was quoted by AgriCensus as saying.

“It was the toaster at one line in their crushing plant. Port facilities are not affected, nor is the second line. Still assessing damages and not much accuracy on when they will resume operations,” another source reportedly said.

Trade sources were reported to have estimated that repairs would take two months, however, any reduction in crushing volume was likely to be shorter due to an anticipated increase in capacity at the unaffected second line and an overall excess of capacity at the port complex, AgriCensus said.

Crush rates in Argentina in September were reportedly 6% below five-year averages due to a lack of farmer selling.