Rio Tinto announces R6.5bn mine development in KZN

The global mining group Rio Tinto has announced a R6.5bn ($463m) investment in its mineral sands business in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The company announced on Monday that the investment would sustain the capacity of Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) by developing a new mine called Zulti South. 

RBM produces predominantly rutile, zircon, titania slag and high purity iron. Rio Tinto has held a 74% stake in RBM since 2012 and manages the operation. 

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Rio Tinto's chief executive, said in a statement that the group has a long history in South Africa. 

"Today’s 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."

Jacques said that the long-term fundamentals of the market remain strong, and production from Zulti South would commence in time to fill a widening supply gap from the group's Zulti North mine. 

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