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16/04/2024
Mining News

Environmental controversy surrounds Rio Tinto: Allegations of non-disclosure and concerns over Brazilian operations

Reports reveal that Rio Tinto’s aluminum division in Quebec has been subject to over 100 environmental infractions over the past 15 years, with fines totaling $2.1 million, positioning the company as one of the province’s top environmental offenders. Instances of neglecting or delaying pollution-related reports to Quebec’s Environment Ministry were highlighted, particularly at the Complexe Jonquière and nearby sites.

While Rio Tinto operates under a brand promoting environmental responsibility, allegations of undisclosed spills and alteration of environmental data have emerged. A whistleblower from the Jonquière complex cited practices of concealing incidents, indicating a systemic issue within the company’s operations.

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In addition to scrutiny in Quebec, concerns extend to Rio Tinto’s Brazilian operations, particularly a mine in the Amazon forest, where residents express worries about environmental impacts and health risks associated with bauxite extraction.

Rio Tinto denies the allegations and emphasizes its commitment to environmental compliance. However, criticism persists regarding delayed emissions reduction efforts and skepticism surrounding initiatives like Elysis, aimed at achieving zero-carbon aluminum production.

The company’s Brazilian subsidiary, Mineracao Rio Do Norte (MRN), faces scrutiny over environmental practices, including concerns about bauxite residue disposal and dam safety. Despite assurances from MRN, local communities remain apprehensive about potential environmental disasters.

Critics question the validity of labeling Rio Tinto’s aluminum as “green,” highlighting discrepancies between claims of environmental stewardship and operational realities. Meanwhile, calls for continued government subsidies to the aluminum industry, including support for initiatives like Elysis, raise concerns about taxpayer contributions to potentially controversial projects.

As Rio Tinto faces mounting scrutiny over its environmental record and operational practices, the company’s commitments to sustainability and transparency are being called into question amidst ongoing controversies.

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