Rio Tinto Richards Bay – RBM


Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) was founded in 1976 and is a subsidiary company of Rio Tinto Group in South Africa. The company is owned by the Rio Tinto Group who have a 74% in the company, followed by Blue Horizon Investments who own a 24% share and RBM permanent employees who own the remaining 2%.  Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is a leading mineral sands producer, extracting heavy minerals from the dune sands situated north of Richards Bay in Zululand, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.   RBM’s lease areas fall within the local Mbonambi and uMhlathuze municipalities. This includes, as the host communities, the Traditional Councils of Mbonambi, Sokhulu, Mkhwanazi and Dube.   RBM also invested in different communities – mostly blacks.

Comments received on Reddit:

“adding that the demonstrations are not related to the company. “

This is a lie, spewed by to top okes at rbm to placate their terrified employees.


People still protesting and some do not want to work  – Reminder – No work – no pay.   There are other people that do want and willing to work and have no income at this stage – they want to fill positions.

At the moment, some smelters at the site are operating at a reduced level, affecting output for 2019.

Rio Tinto Group has halted mining operations at its Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) unit amid escalating violence in surrounding communities that led to an employee being shot and injured.

Smelters at the site in KwaZulu-Natal are operating at a reduced level and a R6.8bn ($463m) expansion project has been temporarily paused, London-based Rio said on 4 December 2019 and there has been an escalation of criminal activity directed at the operation’s staff.

Output for 2019 is now expected to be at the low end of a guidance range of 1.2-million to 1.4-million tonnes and Rio is contacting customers to minimise disruptions. It isn’t clear when operations will resume and the company is appealing to the government to step in and end the violence, Werner Duvenhage, the MD for RBM, said.

“The losses are quite clearly going to be a significant amount of money,” he said. “We continue to work to see how the situation can be resolved, but we don’t have a timeline on when operations can resume.”

The decision to halt operations was preceded by weeks of protests around the area where the mine is located, causing “on-and-off disruptions”, Duvenhage said, adding that the demonstrations are not related to the company.   SA protests against everything from poor municipal services to strikes are often marred by violence, assaults against non-striking workers, blocking roads or burning tyres.

There are about 5,000 staff and contractors, and exports titanium dioxide slag, used to create ingredients for products including paint, plastics, sunscreen and toothpaste. An expansion project announced in April is seeking to maintain output of high-margin products at the site amid a strong market outlook, according to Rio.

“We have taken decisive action to stop operations to reduce the risk of serious harm to our team members,” Bold Baatar, CEO for the energy and minerals unit, said in an earlier statement. “Our goal is to return RBM to normal operations in a safe and sustainable way.”


RIO Tinto has curtailed operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) owing to an escalation in violence among the operation’s surrounding communities.

Community disruption has become increasingly prevalent in South Africa’s mining operations, many of them located in relatively remote regions where industrial activity and employment is scarce.


Richards Bay Minerals paid the Mbonambi Trust fund on 20 May 2018
R74 500 000
Umfolozi – KwaMbonambi community Trust

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