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Bunge says Ohio soy plant to resume crushing after November fire

CHICAGO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Bunge Ltd's soybean processing plant in Bellevue, Ohio, planned to resume crushing operations on Tuesday for the first time since a grain elevator caught fire at the facility on Nov. 20, a company spokeswoman said.

The fire damaged a grain elevator as well as conveyer belts and other equipment, forcing a shutdown at the facility that processes soybeans into soybean oil and soymeal, an animal feed.

"It ended up taking a lot longer than they initially thought," a soymeal trader who was familiar with the facility said of the repairs.

Electrical equipment had to be replaced and then inspected, while some soybeans were damaged during the fire, said the trader who was not authorized to speak with the media.

Some hog producers who were customers of the Bellevue plant instead bought soymeal from other Ohio soy processors operated by Archer Daniels Midland Co and Cargill Inc.

Bunge's processor had continued to refine crude soyoil and would now begin crushing soybeans, according to Bunge. The company has capacity to process over 50 million tonnes of oilseeds globally, of which roughly 30 percent is in North America.

(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer and Karl Plume; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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