Rio Tinto sets out track record as Olympics medals provider
Rio Tinto today set out its ethical track record to support its role as the official metal provider for the 4,700 medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The metal is being sourced from Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA and its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, which goes into commercial production in 2013.
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said “Being ethically responsible is a thread that runs through everything we do. We aim to bring long-lasting positive change to the communities where we work, respecting human rights, bringing economic benefits and looking after the environment.
“The metals and minerals we produce go to make things we use every day, and that help contribute to higher living standards, from medicine and soap to housing and mobile phones.
“We have rigorous standards for air quality, ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, the use of energy, land and water and waste disposal. Before we even open a mine we plan for its closure and how to restore the land.
“We support London 2012’s commitment to delivering the most sustainable games ever. It aligns with Rio Tinto’s commitment to sustainable development wherever we operate.”
In Salt Lake City, Rio Tinto operates strictly within the parameters of its air permits and complies with federal and state air quality regulations, which are based on rigorous standards for protecting human health.
In Oyu Tolgoi, Rio Tinto has committed to zero impact on community water sources.
The primary water source for Oyu Tolgoi is the Gunii Hooloi aquifer - a deep, non-drinkable water source that is separate from the shallow water sources used by households and animals. Oyu Tolgoi is only allowed to use approximately 20 per cent of the water from Gunii Hooloi, so the aquifer can never be exhausted.
Kennecott Utah Copper, Utah, USA
Kennecott operates the Bingham Canyon Mine, which has been providing mineral resources and economic prosperity for more than 109 years.
Kennecott Utah Copper operates strictly within the parameters of its air permits and is consistently in compliance with US Environmental Protection Agency and Utah Division of Air Quality regulations, which are based on rigorous standards for protecting human health.
Kennecott Utah Copper has and continues to invest in programmes to further reduce emissions, decrease waste and improve air quality. These include:
• One of the most technically advanced and cleanest smelters in the world which captures 99.9 per cent of sulphur emissions and generates two thirds of the plant’s electrical power
• A US$10m combined heat and power system that will reduce emissions by 90 per cent compared with separate heat and power systems
• A vehicle idling reduction programme that now covers 360 vehicles and has resulted in the avoidance of more than two million gallons of fuel and emissions
• New, more efficient trucks with fewer emissions
Kennecott Utah Copper has also spent US$400m in reclaiming and restoring land affected by mining operations in the past.
Oyu Tolgoi Copper Mine, Mongolia
Oyu Tolgoi is committed to maintaining, developing and conserving the water supply for Oyu Tolgoi and the local communities throughout the South Gobi region, including the herders and their livestock.
Oyu Tolgoi is making a significant effort to not take any of the water from the existing supplies and has committed to zero impact on community water sources.
The water source for Oyu Tolgoi is the Gunii Hooloi aquifer - a deep, non-drinkable water source that is separate from the shallow water sources used by households and animals.
Oyu Tolgoi is only allowed to use approximately 20 per cent of the water from Gunii HooloiIt so the aquifer can never be exhausted. This will be sufficient to service the mine without needing to take water from any other source.
Oyu Tolgoi will be one of the most water-conservative mines in the world. No water is discharged from the mine and Oyu Tolgoi currently recycles 100 per cent of its treated domestic wastewater.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
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