Publisher’s note: This letter was sent as part of a NRDC campaign. You can sign the petition off a link.
Rio Tinto is a Founding Member of the Responsible Jewelry Counsel. According to their website, RJC Members are committed to promoting responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail. Their commitment aims to reinforce consumer and stakeholder confidence in jewellery products.
Would it seem to you, the reader, that there is a bit of a disconnection between the intent of the RJC and one of its key players? I pointed to this same issue in an earlier post in context to the social and environmental atrocities of another RJC member: Anglo Gold.
~ Publisher, Marc Choyt.
Here’s the letter:
You should care about Rio Tinto.
This British and Australian-based mining giant has a shocking and well-documented record of toxic contamination that spans the globe: from Indonesia to Bolivia to Utah.
Now, as one of the major backers of the proposed Pebble Mine, it is threatening to destroy one of our greatest natural treasures: the Bristol Bay wilderness of Alaska.
Rio Tinto wants us to believe it has changed its polluting ways. Its chief executive claims they want to have a “net positive effect” on the environment.
Talk is cheap. Help us put their words to the test.
First, watch what they do, not what they say. Their 2,000-foot-deep Pebble Mine would be gouged out of the heart of paradise. It directly threatens the planet’s greatest sockeye salmon runs, vital populations of bears, wolves and whales, as well as Native communities that have thrived in Bristol Bay for thousands of years.
The gargantuan gold and copper operation would generate some 10 billion tons of mining waste, laced with toxic chemicals, that must be held back forever by massive earthen dams up to 50 stories tall — all in an active earthquake zone!
Does that sound like a “net positive effect” on the environment?
We shouldn’t trust any company — /much less a company with Rio Tinto’s dismal record/ — to take a catastrophic risk with one of our last and greatest wild places.
Next week, Rio Tinto’s officers and shareholders will meet in London. Please join me in telling them we are not buying the company’s “kinder, gentler” image until it abandons its stake in the Pebble Mine.
NRDC will deliver your message, along with 100,000 others, directly to the shareholders meeting.
The Pebble Mine is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. But to stop it, we must convince Rio Tinto it will be a financial and public relations disaster as well.
Help NRDC get them the message — and put them to the test — next week in London. Thank you.
Trustee, Natural Resources Defense Council
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