Rio Tinto has doubled its holding in Richards Bay Minerals after buying BHP's share for US$ 1.91 billion.
The miner initially announced the move in February, stating that it was acquiring BHP's 37% stake in the titanium operation.
It came after BHP exercised an option with Rio to sell off its stake.
BHP explained that "prior to completion of the sale, BHP Billiton held a 37 per cent equity stake in RBM with equity partners Rio Tinto (37 per cent), Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) parties (24 per cent) and employees (2 per cent). Rio Tinto manages the operation and is responsible for the marketing of RBM’s products".
Rio Tinto diamonds & minerals chief executive Alan Davies said “doubling our stake in this tier one asset further strengthens Rio Tinto’s titanium dioxide portfolio at a time when the long-term outlook remains robust.
"Demand for feedstocks is expected to grow strongly, needing the equivalent of a new operation the size of RBM to be built every two and a half years.”
Last year the mine produced around 14% of the world's titanium dioxide feedstock and 18% of its zircon.
Following the completion of this sale BHP has now moved completely out of the titanium industry.
Image: KZN Business