StockMarketWire.com - Mining company Rio Tinto said it would halt and slow down operations in South Africa and Canada, respectively, due to government moves designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Rio Tinto said it was too early to determine how much of an impact the disruptions would have on its annual production guidance.

The company said all mining operations at Richard Bay Minerals in South Africa would be halted by midnight on Thursday for 21 days. The operation produces titanium dioxide.

Arrangements would be made for the furnaces to be put on care and maintenance in order to avoid damage to their continuous operations.

'At this time, it is too early to speculate on when operations will resume or on 2020 production guidance,' the company said.

Resumption of the construction of the Zulti South project in South Africa would be delayed, it added.

In Canada, meanwhile, the premier of Quebec had closed all non-essential businesses from midnight on 24 March to 13 April.

'Rio Tinto understands that the Quebec government has designated industrial complexes including the aluminium sector and the mining industry as essential industries but instructed that they must reduce their business activity to the minimum,' the company said.

'We will work with the government to comply with its directive in relation to our Quebec operations.'

'Any impacts to operations or production guidance will be reported to the market in due course.'

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