Rio Tinto to close its oven in Richards Bay
Rio said the shutdown was due to the depletion of available raw materials, after mining operations ceased last month over safety concerns “which significantly hampered the mine’s ability to operate safely.” .
An RBM chief executive was murdered on his way to work in May and violence continued, escalating earlier this month as former South African President Jacob Zuma was jailed.
“Shutting down an oven has a major impact on the business and the community at large and it is not a decision we have taken lightly,” said Rio chief executive Sinead Kaufman.
“However, we will not put production before the safety of our people and there are fundamental criteria that must be met before we can resume operations in a sustainable manner.
She said the company would continue to work with national and provincial governments as well as with community structures “to find a lasting solution to the current situation so that operations can resume as soon as possible. security”.
RBM said it would continue to assess whether to restart the furnace or shut down the others.
He had declared force majeure on RBM customer contracts on June 30 and said all RBM operations were on hold until further notice.
The company had indefinitely suspended its $ 463 million Zulti South development project in 2019 due to security concerns.
The Minerals Council South Africa and the unions condemned the recent violence and destruction.
The unions had warned in May of the powder keg situation in KZN, citing a deadly feud between local leaders, job demands, endless road blockades, ambiguous social and work plans and non-compliance and concerns about relocations and community compensation.
Rio owns 74% of RBM, which employs about 5,000 people and is the province’s largest taxpayer and a major global producer of heavy mineral sands.