StockMarketWire.com - Mining company Rio Tinto said it had started the process of resuming operations at its Richards Bay mineral sands operation in South Africa following security problems.

A phased restart was now in progress, with the facility expected to return to full operations in early January, leading to regular production in 'early 2020', the company said.

Production had been halted following an escalation in violence in the communities surrounding the operation.

A Richards Bay Minerals employee had been shot and seriously injured amid an escalation in violence against staff.

'Rio Tinto is contacting customers who were advised of a force majeure in their supply that this has now been lifted,' the company said.

The decision to restart operations came after discussions were held with lawmakers and other stakeholders focused on securing stability.

Rio Tinto reiterated that titanium dioxide slag production for 2019 was now expected to be at the bottom end of 2019 guidance of between 1.2m and 1.4m tonnes.

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