Rio Tinto and its partners will sink $463m (£354m) into a South African mine in an attempt to keep up production levels in the country.
The London-listed miner said today that it will contribute $343m to Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) to back up its 74 per cent stake in the venture.
The cash injection will help RBM open a new mine in Zulti South as it tries to extend the life of its production from the Zulti North site in KwaZulu-Natal.
The mine will sure up production of ilmenite, a key component of titanium, and gemstone zircon.
Construction is due to start during the middle of this year, with production scheduled for late 2021 at the site.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said: “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.
“The long-term fundamentals of the market remain strong, and production from Zulti South will commence in time to fill a widening supply gap, ensuring RBM’s position as a leader in the sector, and delivering strong returns to our shareholders.”