Archive | Rio Tinto

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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

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)

https://www.nytimes.com/

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)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(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)

https://www.bbc.com/

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 (Mining.com – August 12, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

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)

https://www.theage.com.au/

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)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(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 →

Australian miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue post record iron ore shipments as China industrial recovery continues – by Su-Lin Tan (South China Morning Post – July 31 2020)

https://www.scmp.com/

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have joined BHP Group in reporting record shipments of iron ore, the bulk of it to China, as an infrastructure and property construction boom in the world’s second largest economy drives a rebound in steel production.

The companies have reported record earnings on the back of the iron ore shipments, even though exports of other minerals like aluminium and copper remain in the doldrums as the coronavirus pandemic saps global demand.

Australia’s record iron ore exports to China, combined with a surge in shipments of coking and thermal coal, indicate trade in the key industrial ingredients has not suffered because of a diplomatic spat between the two countries. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto Gets Closer to Building Game-Changer African Iron Mine – by David Stringer and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 29, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work toward potential development of the giant Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, as half-year earnings showed the steel-making ingredient dominated the second-biggest miner’s profits.

There’s been a longstanding question mark over Rio’s stake in the massive African deposit. For years, a cast of owners including Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and authorities in the West African nation fought over rights to develop Simandou.

Even with those disputes now settled, Rio must decide whether it’s prepared to spend the large amounts needed to extract and transport the super-rich ore from its part of the project. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto not interested in any part of Dominion Diamond Mines – by Richard Gleeson (CBC News Canada North – July 6, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

The company thought to be the most logical to partner with or purchase Dominion Diamond Mines is not interested in the troubled diamond company.

In a recent affidavit, former Dominion CEO and former N.W.T. cabinet minister Brendan Bell says Dominion’s partner in the Diavik diamond mine — Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., a subsidiary of global mining giant Rio Tinto — is the most obvious candidate to purchase Dominion’s 40 per cent stake in the Diavik diamond mine and also to purchase the Ekati mine, which Dominion owns 90 per cent of.

Dominion is in the process of restructuring or being sold, having been granted creditor protection in April. Continue Reading →

A Miner Blew Up Ancient Human History. Now An Industry May Pay – by David Stringer, Matthew Burgess and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 30, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Scraping away delicately at the reddish-brown earth of northwestern Australia’s vast Pilbara region, a team of archaeologists uncovered a record of life dating back more 40,000 years.

Buried in natural shelters at the base of a cliff were thousands of stone and wooden tools, the sharpened fibula bone of a kangaroo and braided strands of hair.

They worked quickly inside the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to recover the artefacts — and needed to. The team was a salvage squad, sent in with a tight deadline to excavate a site in the path of an encroaching iron ore mine and approved for destruction. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond sues partner in Diavik mine for breach of contract, other allegations – by Sara Minogue (CBC News North – June 16, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Dominion Diamond Mines has filed a lawsuit accusing Diavik Diamond Mines (2012) Inc. — its 60 per cent partner in the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories — of managing the mine to the benefit of its majority owner, Rio Tinto, and to the detriment of Dominion.

The civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday with the Supreme Court of British Columbia (where Dominion is incorporated), claims Diavik Diamond Mines (DDMI) has continued to make cash calls from Dominion “knowing that Dominion has no ability to pay for such cash calls.”

Cash calls are basically requests from Dominion’s partner in the mine to cover its share of operating costs or other obligations. Continue Reading →

‘Heritage of all Australians’: Rio Tinto and BHP in damage control after call for mining halt – by Lorena Allam and Calla Wahlquist (The Guardian – June 13, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Western Australia’s ‘archaic’ heritage laws are in the spotlight as global outrage grows over the destruction of Aboriginal sites

Calls are growing for an immediate halt to mining operations in the Pilbara that have been approved under Western Australia’s “archaic” Aboriginal heritage laws and the Senate will hold an urgent inquiry, as international outrage from investors pushes big mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP into damage control.

On Thursday, Guardian Australia revealed that BHP Billiton was poised to destroy at least 40 significant Aboriginal sites in the central Pilbara to expand its A$4.5bn South Flank iron-ore mine, even though it was aware the traditional owners are deeply opposed to the move.

By day’s end, following public outcry, the company said it would not go ahead without “further extensive consultation” with the traditional owners, the Banjima people. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto chief says sorry for sacred caves blast; Australia starts inquiry – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – June 11, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques on Friday apologised for distress caused by Rio’s destruction last month of two ancient and sacred Aboriginal caves in Western Australia, pledging full cooperation with an Australian government inquiry.

“We are very sorry for the distress we have caused the PKKP in relation to Juukan Gorge and our first priority remains rebuilding trust with the PKKP,” Jacques said in a statement, referring to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people.

With state government approval, the world’s biggest iron ore miner destroyed two caves at Juukan Gorge that had previously contained evidence of continual human habitation stretching back 46,000 years as part of its Brockman mine expansion in the iron-rich Pilbara region. Continue Reading →

BHP agrees not to damage 40 Aboriginal heritage sites without consulting traditional owners – by Lorena Allam and Calla Wahlquist (The Guardian – June 11, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

BHP has said it will not damage 40 Aboriginal heritage sites which it received ministerial permission to destroy without “further extensive consultation” with traditional owners, after Guardian Australia revealed that traditional owners had been legally prevented from speaking publicly about the sites.

It comes amid a mounting shareholder backlash against mining companies for their destruction of Aboriginal heritage, which began with Rio Tinto’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old heritage site at Juukan Gorge last month and has been compared by shareholder groups to widespread bad conduct in the financial services sector before the banking royal commission.

On Thursday BHP said it was clarifying earlier statements by promising not to destroy any of the 40 sites in the central Pilbara to expand its $4.5bn South Flank iron ore mining operation, without further consultation with the Banjima traditional owners. It received a ministerial consent order to destroy them under WA’s outdated Aboriginal heritage laws on 29 March. Continue Reading →