Archive | Rio Tinto

End of an era: Argyle Mine officially closed – by Arabella Roden (Jeweller Magazine – November 11, 2020)

The source of more than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds, the Argyle Mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, has been permanently closed by owner Rio Tinto after more than 30 years of operation.

The mine’s last day of operation was 3 November, with employees and traditional owners of the land attending an event to mark the start of the closure process.

Rio Tinto estimates it will take five years to dismantle and decommission the Argyle site, which will be rehabilitated, monitored, and returned to traditional owners. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Bluejay to jointly explore for nickel in Finland – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 10, 2020)

Explorer and developer Bluejay Mining (LON: JAY) inked on Tuesday a joint venture and earn-in agreement with Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) to advance the Enonkoski nickel project in Finland.

The deal could see Rio progressively earn up to a 75% interest in the project by injecting $20 million into Enonkoski, either by covering expenses or paying cash equivalent amounts, over three stages.

In the first phase, the world’s second-largest miner could secure 51% ownership by spending $5 million by November 2023. Of that total, Rio would have to spend $400,000 by the end of March 2021. Continue Reading →

Turquoise Hill takes Rio Tinto to arbitration over Mongolia mine funding – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 5, 2020)

Canada’s Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) is taking Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) to arbitration over the mining giant’s role and obligations to support the company in securing additional funding for the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in Mongolia.

Turquoise Hill said a special committee of its board, which approved the arbitration, concluded that Rio’s approach to the financing of the mine expansion was “incompatible with the company’s announced strategy to maximize debt and/or hybrid financing for the Oyu Tolgoi project so as to minimize the size, and defer the timing, of an equity rights offering (if any)”.

The Rio Tinto-controlled company and mine operator had expected the underground expansion to cost $5.3 billion when it was approved in 2015. Continue Reading →

Australia accepts human rights complaint against Rio Tinto over Bougainville – by Staff ( – November 4, 2020)

Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) issued a statement saying that the residents of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea have welcomed this week’s decision by the Australian government to accept a human rights complaint against mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) for investigation and conciliation.

The complaint, which was filed by the HRLC on behalf of 156 Bougainville residents, alleges environmental and human rights violations caused by Rio Tinto’s former Panguna mine on the island.

The operation was run by Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper (BCL) and was abandoned in the 1990s due to a civil war that was largely fought over how mine profits should be shared. Some 25 years later, in 2016, Rio handed its shareholding to national and local governments. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto-owned company in dispute with Federal Government over Kakadu uranium mine – by Cathy Van Extel and Scott Mitchell (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 20, 2020)

The Ranger Uranium Mine in Kakadu is looming as the next great test of mining giant Rio Tinto, following the international outcry over the destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan caves in the Pilbara.

A subsidiary of Rio Tinto is in dispute with the Federal Government over paying for scientific monitoring of the mine, which is on the edge of world heritage wetlands and will close in January 2021.

Under an agreement with the Federal Government, the site must be rehabilitated by 2026. Continue Reading →

Why Rio Tinto and China are at loggerheads (The Economist – October 10, 2020)

China does not like to feel jealous of Japan. But in the case of iron ore it has plenty to envy. Back in the 1960s, when Japan was building up its steel industry, the world’s supply of the stuff was so fragmented that Japan could play off producers in Australia and Brazil against each other.

China, now the world’s biggest steelmaker, does not have that luxury. Though it imports 70% of the world’s iron ore, most of this comes from three companies that in the intervening six decades have become titans.

They are Rio Tinto and BHP, two Anglo-Australian firms, and Vale, a Brazilian one. They have brought about consolidation in the industry. They benefit from high barriers to entry. None is keen to undercut the other two. That puts them in a far stronger position vis à vis Chinese customers than their predecessors were with the Japanese. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto hit with human rights claims over Bougainville mine (Agence France-Presse/Jakarta Post – September 29, 2020)

Rio Tinto is facing accusations it “side-stepped” responsibility to clean up poisonous waste from a closed mine on Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville island in a complaint filed Tuesday in Australia.

The complaint, lodged with Australian authorities by the Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Centre on behalf of more than 150 Bougainvilleans, heaps more pressure on the mining giant already under public attack for blowing up sacred Aboriginal sites.

It alleges the former Panguna copper and gold mine, which was at the center of a decade-long civil war in PNG, continues to leak waste into rivers more than three decades after it was shuttered. Continue Reading →

Rio Needs More Than a Safe Pair Of Hands – by Clara Ferreira Marques (Bloomberg/Financial Post – September 28, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Rio Tinto Group may choose to play it safe in its next choice of chief executive officer. With Jean-Sebastien Jacques heading for the exit after the destruction of a sacred Aboriginal site, Australian politicians are also piling on pressure for a local to be given the role.

The mining giant should resist the temptation of an old-school solution. Jacques’s successor will certainly have to rebuild Rio’s credibility after the spectacular failure at Juukan Gorge.

Repairing frayed community and government relations will be among the first tasks. It won’t be enough to pick a veteran technocrat for CEO, though, as miners did after the mistakes of the last boom. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto promised to respect indigenous people. It has a chance to in the U.S. – by Lauren Redniss (Washington Post – September 22, 2020)

Earlier this month, the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto announced its chief executive, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other top executives would step down as the company reckons with its decision last May to bulldoze ancient rock shelters in Australia’s Juukan Gorge to gain access to iron ore.

For the Indigenous Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, the rock shelters were sacred sites. Archaeologists have found evidence of 46,000 years of human presence at the gorge.

In June, Rio Tinto issued an apology. But pressure from Indigenous groups and Rio Tinto’s shareholders pushed the company to take a stronger stand. Continue Reading →

Executives to Step Down After Rio Tinto Destroys Sacred Australian Sites – by Livia Albeck-Ripka (New York Times – September 11, 2020)

DARWIN, Australia — The caves, set deep in a desert gorge, had yielded a treasure trove of artifacts tracing Aboriginal people’s long history in Australia: a 28,000-year-old kangaroo bone sharpened into a blade; a 4,000-year-old plait of human hair believed to have been worn as a belt.

Underneath the caverns sat millions of dollars’ worth of high-grade iron ore, in a country where mining is king.

In May, the minerals giant Rio Tinto decided to blow up the caves to get at the riches below. But on Friday, it became clear that Australia’s most powerful export industry had met a force it could not bulldoze: the global movement for racial justice. Continue Reading →

Rio Board to Debate CEO’s Future as Pressure Mounts Over Blasts – by David Stringer and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – September 9, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Rio Tinto Group’s board will debate the future of Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques as it faces pressure to respond more strongly to the destruction of ancient Aboriginal heritage sites in Australia, according to people familiar with the matter.

Recent talks with shareholders, traditional landowners and legislators indicated the company needs to take further action to restore relations with key decision makers in Western Australia, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

The Australian state is crucial for the world’s second-largest miner, hosting iron ore operations that accounted for more than 90% of its first-half profits. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto bosses lose bonuses over Aboriginal cave destruction (BBC News – August 24, 2020)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has cut the bonuses of three executives over the destruction of two ancient caves in Australia.

In May, the world’s biggest iron ore miner destroyed the sacred Aboriginal sites in Pilbara, Western Australia. The company went ahead with the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters despite the opposition of Aboriginal traditional owners.

They were among the oldest historic sites in Australia. The caves showed evidence of continuous human habitation dating back 46,000 years. Rio Tinto’s chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques will lose a total of £2.7m. Continue Reading →

Star Diamond and Rio Tinto to face off in court – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – August 12, 2020)

A Canadian court has ruled that Star Diamond (TSX: DIAM) has grounds to take its legal fight with Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) to court over their joint Star-Orion South project in north-central Saskatchewan, but said the junior faces an “uphill battle.”

Judge Grant Currie said the Saskatoon-based company may struggle to prove that Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) improperly exercised its options to obtain a majority ownership stake in the proposed diamond mine.

The legal row involves a 2017 agreement under which Rio Tinto’s subsidiary would spend $75 million in phases to acquire 60% of the Star-Orion South diamond project. Continue Reading →

BHP urges more power for Indigenous groups after Rio cave blast disaster – by Hamish Hastie and Nick Toscano (The Age – August 11, 2020)

The nation’s largest miner, BHP, says Indigenous groups should have a greater say over projects endangering significant sites on their ancestral land following Rio Tinto’s destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters in Western Australia.

In a submission to a federal inquiry into the blasting of the Juukan Gorge site by rival Rio, BHP said heritage-protection laws covering mining operations in WA’s iron ore-rich Pilbara were weighted too far in favour of resources companies.

BHP said it supported enshrining traditional owner consultation requirements for disturbing land into new state laws, and the introduction of rights for traditional owners to appeal decisions after they are granted. Continue Reading →

Rio’s Prize for Blowing Up Ancient History: $135 Million – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 7, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A decision by Rio Tinto Group to destroy Aboriginal Australian heritage sites dating back more than 46,000 years delivered about $135 million in extra value to its iron ore division, according to the miner’s top executive.

Rio rejected three other options that would have avoided damaging two rockshelters in Western Australia in order to access about 8 million tons of high-value ore, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said Friday. The company recorded about $4.6 billion in profits from its iron ore unit in the first half.

“The economic value at the time of the decision, or the net present value, was around $135 million,” when mining plans for the site in the Juukan Gorge region of the Pilbara district were decided in around 2012 or 2013, Jacques told a hearing of an Australian parliamentary committee investigating the blasts. Continue Reading →