By David Winning 

SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC said it would slow operations in South Africa and Canada in response to government directives to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Rio Tinto said all mining operations at its Richards Bay Minerals business in South Africa would stop for 21 days from midnight on Thursday, in line with a government order to prevent the virus from spreading more.

"In line with the President's directive, Rio Tinto will make arrangements for the furnaces to be put on care and maintenance in order to avoid damage to their continuous operations," the company said in a regulatory filing. "At this time, it is too early to speculate on when operations will resume or on 2020 production guidance."

Resumption of the construction of the Zulti South project in the country would be delayed, Rio Tinto added.

In Canada, Rio Tinto said it was working with the government of Quebec to comply with a directive to reduce business activity to a minimum. The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region accounts for nearly half of the company's global aluminum output and Rio Tinto also operates a port and stockpile in Sept-Iles.


Write to David Winning at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 23, 2020 18:39 ET (22:39 GMT)

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