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Production restarts at Bige Holding cryolite plant

Production at Bige Holdingʼs cryolite plant in Szolnok (east-central Hungary) has restarted after the Budapest Municipal Court upheld a ruling against a resolution by disaster protection authorities that earlier shut down the plant.

The local disaster protection authority earlier suspended production at Bige Holdingʼs cryolite and sulfuric acid plants, state news agency MTI recalled. However, production at its artificial fertilizer plant was not suspended, after the Administrative and Labor Court of Debrecen overruled the decision to suspend its operating license.

The Budapest Municipal Court said on Tuesday that environmental or safety risks at the Bige Holding cryolite plant could not be established on the basis of the disaster protection authorityʼs resolution or the content of public administration documents. The plantʼs closure could cause significant material losses, putting both the owner and the plantʼs staff at a serious disadvantage, it added.

Production at the cryolite plant, which employs about 250 people, was suspended in June. The court has still not decided "on the matter of the suspension of dangerous activity at the sulfuric acid factory," thus the suspension there remains in place.

Bige Holding sells output of its synthetic cryolite plant to aluminum smelters and other metallurgical industries, as well as to makers of abrasive materials, ceramics, glass, welding materials, and pesticides. Capacity of the plant is 8,000 tonnes a year.

Bige Holdingʼs sulfuric acid plant has capacity to turn out 150,000 tonnes of product a year. The chemical is sold to metallurgical, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Romanian-born owner László Bige is the fifth richest Hungarian, according to MTI, with estimated assets of HUF 170 billion.