Rio Tinto’s SA business RBM says general manager shot dead whilst travelling to work

RICHARDS Bay Minerals (RBM), a company controlled by Anglo-Australian group, Rio Tinto, said its GM Nico Swart had been shot dead this morning whilst travelling to work.

South African police are investigating the murder, according to reports by Fin24 and the Zululand Observer, a local newspaper.

“The circumstances of the shooting are unknown at this stage and the incident is being investigated by the South African Police Services (SAPS),” said RBM which added that it was cooperating with the SAPS.

More than 20 high-caliber bullets were sprayed into Swart’s vehicle in Meerensee, a residential area about 25 minutes from RBB, shortly before 7am, according to a report by the Zululand Observer.

“Our deepest condolences go to Nico’s family and his colleagues during this sad time. We call for calm and respect as the incident is investigated,” said RBM.

The murder will send shockwaves through Rio Tinto which told Bloomberg News in April it was unsure when a $463m expansion of RBM would proceed because of security problems. Work on the project was halted two years ago.

RMB employs about 5,000 workers and exports titanium dioxide slag, used to create ingredients for products including paint, plastics, sunscreen and toothpaste. The project, known as Zulti South is intended to extend the life of the entire operation as the commercially viable ore at other sites is depleted. RMB initially targeted completing the project this year, the newswire said.

Swart was 47 years old and had worked at RBM for 14 years, said Fin24. He is survived by his wife and two children.

1 COMMENT

  1. The silence from the anc government is deafening – no comment from the DMRE, SAIMM, Association of Mine Managers, Minerals Council ( for all intents still the CoM) , ANC ( more concerned about their buddies in Hamas), Mantashe, Ramaposer ( probably shocked )

    This murder plus the antics of the mafia trying to muscle their way at Copperton for financial gain ( well mentored by the anc criminal syndicate) again sends a very loud and clear message to investors not to invest in SA. ( add in EWC, the national democratic revolution , the EFF …)

    Who cares – the mining industry is in a death spiral. Those in this industry are earning salaries that are out of all proportion to their contribution to the business. So their pensions will in due course will provide them a very comfortable living after retirement. They don’t give a damn about the future of the industry.

    AGAIN WHY THE DEAFENING SILENCE FROM THE PRIVILEGED ELITE IN THE MINING COMPANIES , MC, AMMSA, SAIMM, ABOUT THESE CRIMINALS AND THE IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY ?? They are complicit in the demise of an industry that was once a world leader in mining.

    The lack of comment indicates that they have no backbone to confront the government about this problem. Their comfort zone must be maintained at all costs.

    Neil Froneman is the only CEO in SA that is worthy of respect.

    The country and the population will be the losers again.

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