Rio Tinto has started the process of resuming operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa after in violence in the surrounding area eased.
“This follows discussions led by the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, involving all stakeholders focused on securing stability in order to address the issues in the community and provide the stable environment necessary for RBM to resume operations,” the company stated.
A phased restart is now in underway across the operation, with RBM expected to return to full operations in early January, leading to regular production in early 2020.
Rio Tinto said is contacting customers that were advised of a force majeure in their supply that this has now been lifted. The miner added that it will review the restart of the Zulti South project after normalisation of operations at RBM.
Bold Baatar, CEO, Energy and Minerals, Rio Tinto, said: “The safety and security of our people is always our first priority and we are pleased that we will now be able to get back to work creating value for our people, our communities, South Africa and RBM’s shareholders.
“I would like to thank the Government of South Africa and the premier of KwaZulu-Natal for their support and assistance in getting us to a position where we can restart operations at RBM. I would also acknowledge the work of community leaders and the police over the previous few weeks.”
As previously advised, titanium dioxide slag production for 2019 is now expected to be at the bottom end of 2019 guidance of between 1.2 and 1.4 Mt.