Rio Tinto declares force majeure, suspends South Africa ops

Mining giant Rio Tinto said that it had halted operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa due to an escalation in security issues. It has declared force majeure on customer contracts. It said that it would will keep the operations closed until the safety and security position improved.

Sinead Kaufman, Rio Tinto chief executive of minerals, said that “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”.

RBM is a joint venture between Rio Tinto, which owns 74% and Blue Horizon which holds the rest. Blue Horizon is a consortium of investors and Host Communities Mbonambi, Sokhulu, Mkhwanazi and Dube – which owns 24%.