Rio Tinto’s South African operations Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is likely to shut one of its four furnaces on depletion of feedstock inventory. The political turmoil in South Africa combined with mob violence had earlier forced the miner to stop mining activities in the region.
Furnaces at RBM utilize stockpiles of feedstock which is steadily depleting. Rio Tinto had force majeure on shipment contracts from the Richard Bay on June 30. The decision will reduce the depletion of the stockpiles and delay the shutdown of other furnaces.
Major highways are blocked in South Africa and violent rioters are attacking transport vehicles amid civil unrest that broke out after the former president Jacob Zuma was jailed on July 7. Several logistic companies and ports have suspended operations. Local transport by both road and rail have been affected at the KwaZulu-Natal rail corridor to and from Newcastle.
The company is working with provincial governments and community members to find a solution to resume operations while ensuring the safety of its employees.
Last week, ArcelorMittal announced force majeure at its South African operations expressing its inability to honour shipment contracts.