London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 March 2009 – BHP Billiton Limited – the world’s biggest mining company – and third-ranking Rio Tinto Plc have won approval to include a group of black investors in the ownership of Richards Bay Minerals Limited – the world’s largest titanium producer.
The Competition Commission confirmed in an e-mailed statement that BHP and Rio would incorporate two holding companies – Tisand Holdco and Richards Bay Iron and Titanium Holdco – in South Africa as part of the accord.
Richards Bay Minerals had announced earlier that it planned to sell a 26% stake for R4.5 billion to increase the participation of black investors. South African mining companies must sell 26% of their local assets to black investors by 2014 to help make up for discrimination during apartheid, which ended in 1994.
The statement added that the holding companies were being set up to give the black investors entry into ownership of Richards Bay Minerals, and to hold current stockholders’ shares in the new Richards Bay Minerals operating companies, Nick Cobban, a spokesman for London-based Rio, confirmed by e-mail.
BHP spokesman Maredi Mogodi didn’t respond to a message left on his mobile telephone.
Richards Bay Minerals dredges beach sand to extract so- called heavy minerals including titanium, rutile, pig iron and zircon. It supplies about a quarter of the world’s titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in paint and dyes.