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Rio Tinto shuts Richards Bay operations in South Africa over security issues

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(Kitco News) - Rio Tinto announced today that the company has declared force majeure on customer contracts at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa due to an escalation in the security situation at the operations.

The company said that this has led to the decision to cease operations until the safety and security position improves.

Rio Tinto chief executive Minerals, Sinead Kaufman, said, “The safety of our people is our top priority. We continue to offer our full support to the investigating authorities and I would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of the regional and national governments and South African Police Service as we work together to ensure that we can safely resume operations.”

Rio Tinto added that all mining and smelting operations at RBM have been halted until further notice. The Zulti South project has remained on full suspension since the security and community issues in 2019.

RBM mines the mineral rich sands of the northern KwaZulu-Natal province and produce predominantly ilmenite, rutile and zircon – materials used in everything from paint to smart phones to sunscreen. RBM is a world leader in heavy mineral sands extraction and refining and is South Africa’s largest mineral sands producer.

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