The Minerals Council of South Africa condemned violence and regulation enforcement “failures” and had tried stopping the suspension of actions on the minerals sands challenge, which employs about 5,000 individuals.
“Continued acts of lawlessness together with blockages of roads, burning of kit and intimidation of employees at mining operations should not solely unacceptable and damaging to the nation’s fame as an funding vacation spot, but additionally impression the lives and livelihoods of mining workers, their households and surrounding communities,” the council mentioned earlier this month.
A spokesperson for Rio Tinto mentioned on Monday everybody was eager to see the resumption of operations as quickly as doable. “However the security of our individuals and the safety of our operations should be assured earlier than we are able to return to work,” he mentioned.
The assertion refutes KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala’s feedback on July 9. He informed native reporters then that RBM would resume operations this week after authorities and Rio Tinto and RBM’s administration had held talks.
Historical past of violence
The Richards Bay mineral sands mine – wherein Rio holds a 74% curiosity – has seen several violent incidents over the years.
Operations have been halted twice in 2018 because of violent protests by contractors, and in 2019, RBM was compelled to droop actions once more following the taking pictures of one among its workers.
Regardless of Rio approving the $463 million Zulti South challenge to increase the mine life, the enlargement has been on maintain since 2019 because of unresolved safety points.
In April, RBM officials said they have been in talks with the nation’s authorities to “completely tackle violent protests round its operations earlier than resuming work on the Zulti South challenge.”
The most recent incident, nevertheless, casts additional doubt on regular resumption of actions at Richards Bay, which incorporates mining, refining and smelting of heavy minerals or ore deposits.
RBM produces predominantly ilmenite, rutile and zircon – supplies utilized in every part from paint to good telephones to sunscreen.
Richards Bay RBM is a three way partnership between Rio Tinto and Blue Horizon – a consortium of buyers and our Host Communities Mbonambi, Sokhulu, Mkhwanazi and Dube – which owns 24%. The remaining shares are held in an worker belief.