Rio Tinto of Australia says that its subsidiary Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) will shut one of its four furnaces in South Africa due to the depletion of available feedstock at the plant. This is the result of mining operations being halted following an escalation in the security situation at the operations which significantly hampered the mine’s ability to operate safely. Rio Tinto declared force majeure on its customer contracts at RBM on June 30, 2021.
The four furnaces at RBM are dependent on a stockpile of feedstock, which is being steadily depleted. RBM’s decision to shut one furnace will reduce the call on the stockpile and limit the long-term impacts of a shutdown on the RBM’s furnaces.
Sinead Kaufman, Rio Tinto’s CEO/Minerals, said, “Shutting a furnace has a major impact on the business and broader community and it not a decision we have taken lightly. However, we will not put production ahead of the safety of our people and there are still fundamental criteria that must be met before we can resume operations in a sustainable manner.”
Volume 35, Issue 14