LONDON (March 25)—Elementis P.L.C.'s Linatex rubber business suffered a fiscal 2002 operating loss of $3.1 million, mostly because of a decline in the global mining industry, the company said. The loss was more than twice that reported in fiscal 2001. Sales for Linatex slid 18 percent to $56.8 million, although about half the decline was the result of Linatex's exit from the equipment engineering business in 2001, Elementis said. Sales from continuing businesses fell in all regions except Australia, where the firm acquired a hose manufacturer last year. Demand for abrasion resistant rubber linings, Linatex's main product line, fell as the mining sector cut back on investment, particularly in North America, Elementis reported. Sales of Linatex products to the sand- and gravel-handling sector also fell, with the exception of China, according to the group. Other industrial areas were generally weak, it noted.