Kumba, SA’s largest iron-ore producer, told overseas customers it could not meet contractual supply agreements because of an unusually high number of derailments on the railway line linking its Northern Cape mines to the Saldanha port. The incidents contributed to a 1% drop in the company’s export sales in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. International sales fell 12% from the previous three months. Kumba had declared force majeure on March 14, which remained in force, CEO Themba Mkhwanazi said on Tuesday during a media visit to the flagship Sishen mine. “For the first time in five years, we had to declare force majeure because we could not honour our sales commitments to our clients. “When we get certainty that we are close to closing the deficit gap we have now, then we’ll lift it,” he said. Companies declare force majeure when something unexpected happens that prevents them from complying with a contract. Weather and other natural disasters are examp...

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