METEX assesses the impact of a leak incident on its amino acid production site in northern France

The site is operated by its recently acquired subsidiary of the Japanese group Ajinomoto.

On Friday May 21, around 1 p.m., a breach in the manhole cover of a storage tank containing about 170 m3 of hydrochloric acid led to the rapid leak of its contents into a retention basin. This spill caused a limited overflow in the immediate vicinity of the retention area, according to a statement from METabolic Explorer (METEX).

The METEX group said that its recent acquisition of AANE, the leading European producer of amino acids for animal nutrition, allows it to realize its ambition to become one of the world leaders in functional ingredients derived from fermentation.

“In close collaboration with the authorities, all the employees and residents were quickly brought to safety with the help of the firefighters, who then led the operations team to secure the site and to pump the spilled acid in order to avoid any evaporation.

“These operations took place until Friday evening and allowed the evacuation of all the hydrochloric acid spilled into the retention basin and its surroundings. The replacement of the hydrochloric acid tank in question was scheduled for September 2021 as part of the investment plan.

“Five people were taken care of by the emergency services for superficial care without consequences. Aerial samples taken on the site throughout the management of the disaster showed no environmental impact. read the statement.

Impact on facilities and operations

The company said that a regional environmental regulatory agency, DREAL, located in the Somme, went to the site Tuesday morning for a first review.

Plant management also assesses the impact of the event on its facilities and operations.

This assessment will take several days, after which the management will present an action plan providing all the means necessary to repair the damage and return to normal production as quickly as possible, the company added.

“The subsidiary’s net cash position at the end of April 2021 amounted to € 19.1 million, enabling it to cope with this event.

The company added that it is aware of the consequences of this exceptional situation for its customers: the sales teams will work with them and their agents to inform them of the consequences of this event. At the same time, discussions will take place with staff representatives on the measures to be put in place during this period.

“The exemplary responsiveness of our teams, who alerted the authorities very early on, enabled us to deal effectively with this event. I want to sincerely thank them for that. I would also like to express my gratitude for the efficient action of the Prefecture and the firefighters. Faced with this case of force majeure, we will have to temporarily stop production in the coming days in order to carry out a precise assessment of the situation and define an action plan. We will only restart production once we are certain that it will be carried out under optimal safety conditions.Said David Demeestere, plant manager.

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