Open letter to Rio Tinto demands answers to questions posed by civil society actors/NGO representatives acting for communities in five countries where Rio Tinto mines are having detrimental impacts, violating the environment and abusing human rights.
This year, the Rio Tinto shareholder engagement part of the 2020 AGM was held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Eight organisations for five countries that are host to (or currently threatened by) Rio Tinto mining projects – Papua New Guinea, Arizona USA, Serbia, Mongolia and Madagascar – brought questions for the Board of Directors and were invited to submit these either via email or to dial them in via a free-call facility.
As this was a new format for the company and for shareholders, it was unsurprising that there were some technical difficulties, although a multi-billion dollar company like Rio Tinto might have been expected to provide a state of the art, customised service that would have offered visual connectivity, good sound quality, and allowed for direct calls from two of the countries where the company has mines (Madagascar and Mongolia).
Technology aside, the main issue was the lack of substance in the company’s responses, and the inevitable dissatisfaction arising from the answers to those questions that were asked. The frustrations were multiplied for those who sat in a phone-in queue never to have their questions and concerns voiced because the facilitator reported no more calls on the line – when there were.
For those who were able to connect at the AGM, and for those were not but who have sent written questions to the company and still not received full answers, the failure of Rio Tinto to be responsive in any meaningful way is not being ignored.
An open letter has been sent to the company demanding that questions be answered in full and supporting documentation provided , where relevant.
This is a joint action co-ordinated by London Mining Network. The Andrew Lees Trust is a member of the network and was also a participant at the 2020 AGM, alongside Publish What You Pay Madagascar, to ask questions about the QMM mine in Anosy.
The company has been given 21 days to respond.