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Major South African mining port disrupted due to protests

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(Kitco News) - The entire supply chain leading to Durban and Richards Bay has been shut down, according to a report by South Africa's rail authority, and the impact could be felt upon miners throughout Africa.

"Service levels in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay have been negatively affected, as the entire supply chain is closed – including the roads leading into and out of the port. Some staff members have not been able to access operations as a result of road closures and the unavailability of public transport," announced Transnet in a news release.

The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is a major deep sea port. It handles large ships and large volumes of coal. In a note about the protests and supply disruptions, BMO Capital Markets said that "…the issues here will compound COVID-related delays to Indonesian thermal coal shipments currently being reported. Meanwhile, any prolonged port outages could limit supply to the market of manganese ore, chrome ore and cobalt concentrates from the DRC."

Protests in South Africa broke out after it was announced that former president Jacob Zuma was jailed for corruption.

"On the rail side, a force majeure has been declared on the NATCOR line, which links Durban and Gauteng, due to the unrest. All affected customers have been notified, and the Company continues to work on solutions to mitigate the current challenges to ensure that it is able to deliver goods into and out of the country," writes Transnet.

South Africa's major oil refinery, Sapref, announced yesterday it was halting production and declaring force majeure on contracts
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