Rio Tinto to be challenged on environment and human rights abuses

By agency reporter
8 Apr 2011

An alliance of solidarity, human rights, development and environmental groups is calling London-based Rio Tinto Plc, the world’s third largest publicly traded mining company, to account for what it says are numerous human rights and environmental abuses.

The London Mining Network (LMN) intends to raise concerns at Rio Tinto’s 2011 AGM on Thursday 14 April 2011 at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

The LMN has arranged that representatives from local organisations in regions where Rio Tinto operates will attend the meeting. Visitors from Indonesia, and the United States will confront the company with the impacts of its activities on their communities. It is hoped that there will also be a visitor from Mongolia.

One of the visitors, Chalid Muhammad, is chair of the Indonesian Green Institute and acted as a witness in negotiations between the company and communities around its now-closed Kelian gold mine in Indonesia, where numerous human rights abuses occurred.

Meg Townsend works in a New York City law firm handling high-profile environmental litigation and represents Michigan groups concerned about water pollution and violations of Indigenous rights at the Eagle Mine. Cherise Udell from Utah Moms for Clean Air leads the Utah delegation.

Still to be confirmed is Sukhgerel Dugersuren, Executive Director of Oyu Tolgoi Watch, a coalition of Mongolian human rights organisations monitoring the impacts of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in the arid South Gobi region of Mongolia, where mining operations will deplete scarce water resources.

Chalid Muhammad of the Indonesian Green Institute said yesterday: “Rio Tinto is not what it seems. It claims to be socially responsible but it is not.”

Community representatives, with banners, will be available for comment and photo opportunities outside the AGM from 10.00am on Thursday 14 April.

Protestors from Utah, challenging the company over air pollution from its mining and smelting operations at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, will put on a colourful street theatre presentation as part of their demonstration outside the Rio Tinto AGM.

More about the London Mining Network: http://londonminingnetwork.org

[Ekk/3]

Keywords: mining | rio tinto
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