iPhone 6
Production delays at Foxconn following factory explosion could result in a delayed launch for the iPhone 6. Twitter

A deadly dust explosion in a metal polishing plant in Eastern China that killed 75 people has resulted in a nationwide halt in factory production while safety inspections are carried out.

Reports from the Chinese version of TechWeb suggest that these inspections are likely to affect Foxconn, a key supplier for Apple that recently hired 10,000 new staff to cope with demand for the iPhone 6.

As a result, it is anticipated that the production and launch of Apple's latest smartphone will be set back. The iPhone 6 had been expected to launch on Tuesday 14 October.

Apple is yet to respond to a request for comment from IBTimes UK regarding any potential delays to its production line.

The explosion, which took place at the Kunshan Metal Products factory on Friday, is believed to have occurred when a cloud of flammable aluminium dust ignited.

Kunshan Metal Products is a designated supplier for General Motors, which one week previously had been recognised "as the fourth-best Fortune 500 company in the area of corporate social responsibility".

Foxconn uses a similar metal polishing process to that found in the Kunshan Metal Products factory and it is not yet known how long production will be halted.

Mass production of the 4.7inch version of the iPhone 6 reportedly began last month. Taiwan's Economic Daily News claimed that the smaller of the two expected iPhone 6 models would be released later in 2014, while the 5.5inch version would enter mass production in the second week of August ahead of a 2015 launch.