RBM closed since last week following violent community unrest

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RICHARDS Bay Minerals (RBM) has been closed since last week following violent community protests in which a security guard was killed, said Reuters citing Rio Tinto – the mine’s owner, and a union.

“Due to the escalation in activity around the blockades on the access roads, staff were sent home on Friday. Our highest priority is the safety of our people,” a Rio spokesman told the newswire. Community unrest is a common feature of South Africa’s social landscape, which is marred by high jobless rates and glaring income disparities, underscoring the social risks for investors in the country’s mining sector, said the newswire.

Mzi Zakwe, the regional secretary for the National Union of Mineworkers, told Reuters the union’s 900 members were on forced leave because of the violence, which he said was rooted in grievances between the company and contractors.

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