Flames are seen after a fire erupted following an explosion caused by a gas leak in an apartment building in Rosario city, in the province of Santa Fe, August 6, 2013. — Reuters
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BUENOS AIRES - 27 December 2017: An explosion at a port operated by Chinese export company COFCO in Argentina's grains hub of Rosario on Wednesday killed one person, injured others and affected shipping activities, local authorities said.
Television images showed thick black clouds of smoke billowing from a grains processing plant at the port of General San Martin, which is part of the Rosario shipping complex.
"There was an explosion at a plant operated by Nidera, which now belongs to COFCO," Andres Alcaraz, spokesman for the CIARA-CEC chamber of export companies, told Reuters by telephone.
A spokesman for COFCO, reached by telephone, declined to comment pending confirmation of the facts.
"The explosion caused one fatality," Marcos Escajadillo, head of the civil protection service of Santa Fe province, told local television.
Local hospital Sanatorio Britanico said by telephone that seven burn victims were admitted to the facility while other victims of the blast were being treated at other clinics. Local police and firefighters could not confirm the overall number of injured or the cause of the explosion.
China's COFCO agreed in 2014 to buy Dutch grain trader Nidera. This and other deals gave COFCO assets in some of the world's top grain, vegetable oil, sugar and coffee producing regions.
Argentina is the world's top exporter of soymeal livestock feed as well as a major global supplier of corn and raw soybeans. Some 80 percent of Argentina's agricultural exports are shipped from Rosario. The hub is situated along the Parana River, which leads to the shipping lanes of the South Atlantic.
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