London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 March 2009 – Rio Tinto Group – the world’s third- largest mining company – has confirmed that its US$1 billion (R10 billion) ilmenite mine in Madagascar has been unaffected by political tensions in the Indian Ocean country.
In an e-mail to Bloomberg News, Rio’s London-based company spokesman Nick Cobban said “We have worked normally since January, when the political tensions began. The company office in the capital city of Antananarivo is operating, and has only been closed for a couple of days since the tensions began in January as a precaution,” he added.
Bloomberg News reports that at least 100 people have died on the island since 26 January amid clashes between security forces and supporters of opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, who has described President Marc Ravalomanana’s rule as a dictatorship. Rajoelina has claimed control of the military, Agence France-Presse reported today, quoting him as saying that security forces should detain Ravalomanana “without delay.”
Rio said in November that QIT Madagascar Minerals would begin output in January and would ramp up to 750000 tpa in 2011. The mine is in the southern Fort-Dauphin region.
The company revealed that output at the mine would be equal to about 9% of global supply.