Rio Tinto is set to “rough ride” over a promising eponymous uranium deposit in Canada’s Athabasca Basin.
This will mark a re-entry by the UK mining giant into uranium exploitation in Canada – the world’s second largest source of the nuclear fuel (after Kazahstan). In 2000, Rio Tinto sold its majority-owned Rio Algom subsidiary to Billiton (which later merged with BHP to become BHP-Billiton). In doing so, it bequeathed a massive legacy of problems associated with past uranium mining. These problems relate particularly to the absence of adequate tailings containment at its mines in the Elliot Lake region of Ontario, as well as on Hopi and Navajo territory in the US. In addition, there remain long-standing claims that the company caused radiation-induced disease among its Elliot Lake workforce. In fact it was only last month (in November 2011) that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) presented a report, allegedly withheld for 5 years, on (mis)-management of Rio Algom’s Elliot Lake uranium tailings facilities. But now, Rio Algom’s former parent company is about to return to the country whose rivers and lands it so grossly polluted and debased for almost half a century.
[Comment by Nostromo Research, London 2 December 2011]
See Rio Tinto snatches up majority of Hathor shares at http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page72103?oid=140843&sn=Detail&pid=102055