New mining investment a ‘vote of confidence in KZN economy’

KwaZulu Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala.

The planned R5.6 billion investment into Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is a “major vote of confidence in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ)”, according to the KwaZulu Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala.

This follows the announcement earlier this week that Rio Tinto, an international holding company for RBM, has approved the next stage in the development of RBM in South Africa. This will involve the construction of the Zulti South project that will sustain current capacity and also extend mine life, according to Zikalala.

He said it was encouraging that more and more business organisations such as RBM continued to express their commitment to the growth of the provincial economy.

RBM currently operates four mines in the Zulti North lease area, a mineral separation plant and smelting facility.

“The Zulti South mine (Phase 1) will underpin RBM’s supply of zircon and ilmenite over the life of mine,” said Rio Tinto chief executive, J-S Jacques, highlighting that construction was scheduled to start in mid-2019 with the first commercial production expected in late 2021.

“Rio Tinto has a long history in South Africa, and this investment underscores our commitment for the coming decades and beyond. Zulti South is one of the best undeveloped minerals sand deposits in the industry, and will significantly extend RBM’s position as a world-class, first-quartile asset,” he added.

 


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