Rio Tinto confirmed it has begun the process of restarting operations at the Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) site in South Africa following an escalation of violence earlier this year.
Rio Tinto said the opening follows “a stabilisation of the security situation around the mine.” More specifically, there had been several reports of arson and, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the murder of Operational Services Manager Nico Swart in late May.
Richards Bay had been closed since late June. Rio Tinto officials said the operations will be ramping up to capacity as rapidly as possible.
“The safety and security of our people has been our priority throughout and we recognise the collaboration and constructive dialogue we have had with all stakeholders to get us into a position where we can restart operations and resume contributing to the host communities, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive -Minerals Sinead Kaufman said.
“I also acknowledge the resilience and dedication shown by all our people at RBM over the past weeks.”
The miner said the overall impact of the operational suspension, which includes the idle of its furnace number 4, is still being assessed. It has kept its previously declared force majeure in place.
Sources: Rio Tinto and Sydney Morning Herald