Rio Tinto says seeking growth opportunities in Africa

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GLOBAL mining firm Rio Tinto is looking for opportunities to expand in Africa as it bets on long term demand growth for minerals, a senior executive said on Monday.

A sharp fall in commodity prices is forcing most mining firms to hold back on expansion, but Rio Tinto is seen a potential favourite for investors as it is a low cost producer, with a stronger balance sheet.

“The global drivers for long term demand for African minerals all point in the right direction,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive for Diamonds and Minerals Alan Davies told a mining conference in Cape Town.

“Rio Tinto continues to invest and explore for opportunities in Africa, in particular in Botswana and Namibia.”

He did not provide further details, but both Botswana and Namibia are among the major diamond producers in Africa.

Rio Tinto currently has 5000 employees and contractors across its African operations, Davies said.

Prices of most commodities have in recent months fallen to multi-years, hit by oversupply and slowing growth in major consumer China.-Reuters

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