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UK Sparks: Rio Tinto Halts KwaZulu-Natal Production


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Rio Tinto has moved to “curtail operations” at its 74%-owned Richards Bay Minerals heavy minerals sands joint venture in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa after an escalation in violence in nearby communities. The company says there has been an increase in criminal activity towards employees, one of whom was shot and seriously injured.

All Richards Bay mining operations have been halted and the smelters are operating at a reduced level, with a “minimum” number of employees on site. Construction of the joint venture’s Zulti South zircon and ilmenite mining project has been temporarily paused. Rio says its titanium dioxide slag production for 2019 is now expected to be at the bottom end of its guidance of between 1.2-1.4 million tonnes.

Fellow miner BHP Group has recruited former Newmont Goldcorp chief executive Gary Goldberg as a non-executive director. Mr Goldberg spent 30 years at Rio Tinto, where he was president and chief executive of Rio Tinto Minerals.

Fashion retail brand Quiz has revealed a £6.8m interim pre-tax loss after taking an exceptional charge of £7m for “store impairments and onerous leases”. The loss compares to a £3.8m pre-tax profit in the same period of last year. Revenues fell by 5% to £63.3m, while underlying pre-tax profits were 85% lower at £600,000.

Advertising and public relations agency M&C Saatchi has warned that full-year underlying pre-tax profits will be “significantly below”expectations. The company also says that the cost of correcting accounting irregularities discovered earlier this year will increase from £7.8m to £11.6m.

Stockbroker and mid-sized investment bank  Numis Corporation has revealed a 61% drop in full-year pre-tax profits to £12.4m amid sparse merger and acquisitions activity and lower trading volumes. The company, which issued a profits warning in September, reports an “encouraging start” to the current financial year, with improved revenue performance across the business.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets has promoted chief finance and commercial officer Trevor Strain to chief operating officer. Trading director Michael Gleeson will take over as chief financial officer.

Finally, Primary Health Properties has contracted to develop an £8.4m medical centre in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The property will provide modern facilities for two merged GP practices to deliver primary care services to more than 18,000 patients.

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