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Rio Tinto is a mining and exploration company involved in each stage of metal and mineral production and processing. Rio Tinto is one of the largest publicly listed mining companies in the world. The Group produces uranium, aluminium, copper, diamonds, coal, iron ore, gold and industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide, salt, talc). Rio Tinto operates in 50 countries, but it produces most in Australia and North America.
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Sam Walsh AO |
Shareholders. Rio Tinto plc is listed at the London Stock Exchange and Rio Tinto Ltd is listed at the Australian Securities Exchange.
Riversdale Mozambique – Mozambique
In Mozambique, when resettling communities for the Benga project to Capanga to Mwaladzi, Riversdale did not provide promised schools and health care at resettlement sides and land for compensations was to poor for people to live on it.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report,"What is a House without Food?" accuses coal mining companies of land grabbing and human rights violations in the Mozambican Tete province. Coal mining companies like Vale, Rio Tinto, and Riversdale have reportedly resettled around 1,429 households; many residents now lack access to food and water.
In Madagascar, locals expelled from their land by Rio Tinto/QMM's mining project in Taolagnaro have been lobbying for fair compensation since 2010. In March 2013, fifteen Fagnomba organization members were arrested and imprisoned for speaking out against the mining activities.
Fort-Dauphin residents expelled from their land protested the concessions the company received for its land acquisitions along with the company's employment policy at its mineral sands operation.
Rio Tinto's African uranium mining ventures have also come under severe scrutiny. CRIRAD and Earthlife Namibia conducted research on the effects of Namibia's largest uranium mine, the Rössing uranium mine (Rio Tinto's 69% subsidiary), on the local environment, labor, and human rights. Their preliminary findings concluded that workers and residents from surrounding communities experienced health problems related to their exposure to radioactive waste and the inhalation of dust and radon gas produced by the mine. Rössing's health and safety protocols were shown to be outdated and inadequate. Recent measures indicated elevated levels of uranium in ground water, soil, and sediment.
In 2008 the Norwegian Ministry of Finance decided to exclude the company Rio Tinto from the Government Pension Fund - Global due to a risk of contributing to severe environmental damage and the fact that there are no indications to the effect that the company's practises will be changed in future, or that measures will be taken to significantly reduce the damage to nature and the environment.
Mongolian herders claim that Rio Tinto's $5 billion expansion of their Gobi desert Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine threatens hundreds of nomadic people's access to fresh water and the area's unique ecology. Mining has taken a heavy toll on the region. Gobi desert herders report that the mine, which guzzles an estimated 191,230 m3of water daily, is drying up their traditional water sources - hand-dug wells. According to a 2010 World Bank water assessment of the Southern Gobi Region, the mine's water usage far surpasses that of local livestock herds (31,600 m3) and residents (10,000 m3). The nomadic population was neither consulted nor informed of the mine's establishment.
Mining activities led Salt Lake City to become the second most contaminated city in the U.S. Several organizations, (Utah Moms for Clean Air, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, and WildEarth Guardians) filed a 2011 lawsuit against Rio Tinto/Kennecott claiming that Rio Tinto/Kennecott operations were responsible for a disproportionate amount of Utah's air pollution and consistently violated pollution permits and EPA standards.15 An American Lung Association analysis suggested that at least one-third of Utah's population is vulnerable to pollution impacts. Youth and the elderly constitute slightly less than half of the population in Utah; 230,000 of which have asthma and nearly 494,000 suffer from cardiovascular disease.
In October 2011, a U.S. federal appeals court revived a lawsuit faulting Rio Tinto for multiple human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to its subsidiary, the Panguna copper mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The lawsuit alleged that Rio Tinto violated international laws and was complicit to war crimes, genocide, human rights abuses, cultural devastation, and environ-mental destruction. The case was intertwined with a ten-year secessionist war in Papua New Guinea that claimed 20,000 lives. In June 2013, the courts dismissed the case against Rio Tinto following a ruling in the April 2013 Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell case, which limited the reach of U.S. law in overseas human rights cases.
The Big Gossan Mine is located in the Grasberg Gold and Copper Mining Complex in Indonesia. Following a May 2013 collapse that reportedly killed 28 people, the Indonesian government suspended production pending an investigation. Critics claim that the parent companies, Freeport-McMoRan and Rio Tinto, should be held accountable for the accident.
Rio Tinto's controversial business practices have prompted investors like the Government Pension Fund of Norway, NORGES bank, Birch Caring Capital, and the KLP to exclude Rio Tinto from their investment portfolios.