Iluka restarts rutile operations in Sierra Leone after workers strike

3 December 2018 (Last Updated December 3rd, 2018 12:15)

Australian mineral sands resource company Iluka Resources has reportedly restarted operations at its Sierra Rutile mine in Sierra Leone after workers union ended an eight-day strike at the site.

Iluka restarts rutile operations in Sierra Leone after workers strike
Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide. Credit: Iluka Resource Limited.

Australian mineral sands resource company Iluka Resources has reportedly restarted operations at its Sierra Rutile mine in Sierra Leone after workers union ended an eight-day strike at the site.

The recommencement of operations comes following talks between the government and Iluka representatives, Reuters reported, citing the worker’s union vice-president Henry Samai.

Following the talks, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio set up a task force to resolve issues between the union and the company.

The government has advised dialogue and a consultation between the union and mining companies as the way forward.

The strike was the second in recent times. In October, project operations were hit by a week-long stop as the United Mineworkers’ Union launched a strike action.

At that time, Iluka disclosed that the strike impacted its production guidance.

“Iluka’s projects in Australia include the Jacinth-Ambrosia mine site in the Eucla Basin, where it undertakes mining and wet concentration activities.”

On 28 November, Iluka stated: “The impact on Iluka’s rutile production and sales commitments will be dependent on the time required to return to full operations but is likely to be around the low end of the guidance range of 125,000t-130,000t of rutile.”

Sierra Rutile operates as a subsidiary of Iluka Resources. The company is engaged in the production of rutile, ilmenite and zircon from the deposit in Sierra Leone.

Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide and is used to make white pigment and titanium metal.

Iluka’s projects in Australia include the Jacinth-Ambrosia mine site in the Eucla Basin, where it undertakes mining and wet concentration activities.

This mine comprises two deposits and can produce up to around 300,000t of zircon per year.

The company’s operations in the Perth Basin include the Cataby mine, a mineral separation plant, as well as a synthetic rutile kiln.