RBM has announced a commitment of R1.5 million to meet critical food security, water and health needs in its mine communities in the face of the COVID19 crisis.

The company pledged the funds at the opening of the uMhlathuze municipal Food Bank. The funds will be allocated amount among three municipalities – with uMhlathuze and uMfolozi receiving R450,000 each and King Cetshwayo District Municipality getting R500,000. The pledge follows a donation of critical supplies including hand sanitizer, masks and gloves totalling R100,000 to community health clinics.

Councillor Mduduzi Mhlongo, Mayor of uMhlathuze, officially opened the Food Bank, noting this was an important initiative to mitigate the negative impact that the coronavirus on communities, and in particular on vulnerable groups.

He thanked RBM for its contribution of R450,000 to the uMhlathuze area and urged others to make contributions, no matter how big or small.

“I call upon all social partners, industries, the business sector, NGOs and individuals who may wish to contribute to this noble cause to come forth and contribute towards changing the lives of the people for the better,” said Councillor Mhlongo.

Werner Duvenhage, Managing Director – RBM said: “As a business that works closely with and within our communities, we are committed to making a positive difference and playing our part. While the coronavirus is claiming thousands of lives globally, another concern is hunger and the lack of clean water supply, a major health hazard. Our pledge will support families in uMhlathuze and uMfolozi and the King Cetshwayo District Municipality.

“We hope our contribution as well as that of other benefactors will contribute in a meaningful way towards alleviating the pain and hardship of our people during this difficult period. We will continue to work with the wider business community in Richards Bay and the district health authorities to help fight this crisis and put our community back on the path to sustainable development.”

In the King Cetshwayo District Municipality which is experiencing acute water shortages, RBM is providing water tankers and 50 water storage tanks with 5000 litres capacity. In addition, food hampers and coronavirus hygiene products, including masks, gloves, sanitisers and soap have been distributed within the district municipality through the district health officials for distribution to needy families to help them adhere to the strict hygiene requirements aimed at alleviating the spread of the virus.

In addition to food, water and protective equipment, RBM is also working to assist learners during lockdown and beyond, partnering with the Department of Education to produce study aids for grade four to seven learners in its host communities.

Notes for editors

  • RBM is South Africa’s largest mineral sands producer and beneficiation company.
  • RBM produces predominantly rutile, zircon, titania slag and high purity iron.
  • Production from Zulti South will be processed through RBM’s existing infrastructure.
  • Rio Tinto has held a 74 per cent stake in RBM since 2012 and manages the operation.
  • Blue Horizon, a BBBEE consortium consisting of lead investors and the four host communities, owns a 24 per cent stake, while the remaining two per cent of the shares are held in an employee trust.

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