The Port of Richards Bay rests on the shores of a lagoon formed by the Mhlatuze River in the KawZuli-Natal Province of South Africa about 90 nautical miles northeast of the Port of Durban. The easternmost seaport in the nation, the Port of Richards Bay has the country's biggest harbor. The Port of Richards Bay's Coal Terminal is the world's biggest, with capacity to handle 91 million tons per year. In 2008, over 319 thousand people lived in the Port of Richards Bay.
In addition to its busy seaport, the Port of Richards Bay is home to two aluminum smelters and a fertilizer plant. Mines in the nearby lagoon produce iron ore, zircon, and titanium oxide. The seaport exports a range of bulk cargoes that include coal, titanium, heavy minerals, ferrochrome, granite, aluminum, pulp, woodchips and pulp, and phosphoric acid.
In an effort to preserve the ecological integrity of the lagoon, the Richards Bay Game Sanctuary was created in 1935. The sanctuary was expanded to form Richards Bay Park in 1943.
In 1954, the town of Richards Bay was designed on the lagoon's shores. It was a recognized town by 1969.
The harbor was converted into the Port of Richards Bay in 1976. The deep-water harbor soon acquired railway and pipeline links to South Africa's capital, Johannesburg, some 484 kilometers to the northwest of the Port of Richards Bay.