Foxconn closes polishing workshops in China after explosion

The world's largest contract electronics maker, Foxconn, has closed all its workshops that handle polishing for electronic parts and products in China, following an explosion late last week that killed three employees and injured 15 others.

All operations at the affected polishing workshops remain suspended and production at all other workshops that carry out similar processing functions have also been halted pending the results of the investigation into the cause of the accident.

The explosion occurred on 20 May at the company's Chengdu plant in southwest China's Sichuan province, where two people died and 15 were injured. Of the injured, six were treated at a local hospital and released, while one more succumbed to his injuries today.

The Chengdu plant was built in October at a cost of $2 billion as part of Foxconn's plan to move manufacturing to the interior of China where wages are about lower than in urban south. The factory is currently producing Apple's iPad 2.

The Chengdu plant is reported to have around 52 iPad production lines with a total capacity of 40 million units per year and a workforce of over 10,000 people.

The cause of the explosion is still being investigated by a joint investigation task force led by government officials and law enforcement authorities, but that task force has communicated initial findings that the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust in a duct.