Monday 8 April 2019 9:15 pm

Rio Tinto subsidiary throws $500m at new mine to keep production flowing 

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.

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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.

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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.”