NUM to hold mass meeting over Richards Bay Minerals force majeure on workers

In June, the company declared a force majeure on customer contracts following the assassination of Nico Swart.

FILE: Rio Tinto's Richards Bay Minerals operation. Picture: riotinto.com

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Friday said that it would hold a mass meeting this weekend to deliberate on the impact of a force majeure declaration at Richards Bay Minerals on workers.

RBM, owned by global mining giant Rio Tinto, has been the largest taxpayer in KwaZulu-Natal with an annual contribution of R6.2 billion.

In June, the company declared a force majeure on customer contracts following the assassination of Nico Swart, its general manager for operational services.

Swart’s death was preceded by a series of violent attacks that claimed the lives of workers and traditional authorities near Richards Bay Minerals.

All mining and smelting operations at the mine were halted until further notice.

NUM’s KwaZulu-Natal regional secretary Muzikayise Zakwe said the ongoing force majeure was a direct attack on the workers.

Zakwe said they wanted Rio Tinto to address safety concerns through the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, failing which they would embark on mass action against both parties.

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