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A blast explosion at an Apple factory in China has killed 3 and injured at least another 15.

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The explosion, which occurred at third party supplier Foxconn in Chengdu region of China, is thought to have occurred on Friday last.

The cause of the blast is unknown but it is thought to have been prompted by combustible dust in a polishing operation.

The plant, located west of Chengdu opened late last year to meet soaring global demand for iPad 2, according to MacRumours.

Apple have acknowledged the incident, saying “we are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event,” Apple told AllThingsD.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families.”

It is not sure the impact this latest incident will have on global availability of iPad 2, which is already in short supply, and media reports there indicate operations have been suspended.

“The operations in the polishing workshop, as well as other plant sections with similar manufacturing processes, have been suspended for further investigation and workplace safety checks,” state run media agency Xinhua confirmed.

No further information has been released by the notoriously tight controlled state media.

 

However, analysts believe the impact on supply is likely be ‘short term’ as the often controversial Foxxconn, who operates several plants throughout China will move quickly to restart production.

Working conditions in Foxxconn operations have been subject of much controversy, with workers claiming to be subjected to slave labour style conditions including over working and horrendous conditions at two of its plants in the southern region of Shenzhen a well as Chengdu, following a spate of employee suicides.

And this also isn’t the first time Apple workers have been injured in the course of their work. Earlier this year, 137 factory workers at another third party manufacturer in China were seriously injured from a chemical used in making the glass screen for the iPhone, called n-hexane.

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