Britain’s Olympic medals mining company in court in Utah

Bingham mine 1

London Mining Network press release 23 September 2103

London-based mining multinational Rio Tinto, which provided the metal for the 2012 Olympic medals, is in court in Utah this Tuesday (24 September) for air pollution at the very mine from which most of the Olympic medal metal came.

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Utah Moms for Clean Air, the Sierra Club of Utah and Wild Earth Guardians are pursuing a public interest law case, filed in December 2011, against Rio Tinto’s US subsidiary Kennecott for pollution around the Bingham Canyon mine and smelter in Utah, which critics say causes at least 300 extra premature deaths a year in the Salt Lake City area. The case involves regulatory violations, including the company’s failure to obtain the necessary US Environmental Protection Agency approval for increased emissions and expanded mining since 2007.

London Mining Network (LMN) Co-ordinator Richard Solly said: “Organizations in Utah have been urging Rio Tinto to clean up its act for ages. We drew attention to the company’s poor record during last year’s Greenwash Gold Campaign. It’s time Rio Tinto took its critics seriously. We wish Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Utah Moms for Clean Air and their allies well with this legal case.”

LMN researcher Richard Harkinson said:  “Rio Tinto have said they plan to use controversial block-cave underground mining under the existing opencast mine near Salt Lake City. There have been two landslides there this year, causing Rio Tinto lost production and feed to its smelter. Local media have found that Kennecott has posted virtually no bond for clean-up of the mine site. If Rio Tinto were to abandon the mine, taxpayers are therefore likely to be stuck with the reclamation costs. Now the Utah air pollution permitting is under wider public scrutiny.”

For more information, see http://www.uphe.org/priority-issues/air-quality/rio-tinto-air-quality. Further weblinks below.

LMN’s Richard Harkinson is available for interview on 07563 238179.

Tim Wagner of Sierra Club is available for interview on 001 801 467 9294 x 100

London Mining Network is an alliance of 30 organizations concerned about the social and environmental impacts of London-based and London-funded mining companies around the world.

London Mining Network,
Finfuture, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road,
London N4 2DA.
http://londonminingnetwork.org
07903 851695

Further background to this story:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765633650/What-is-the-future-of-the-Bingham-Canyon-mine.html
http://www.uphe.org/priority-issues/air-quality/rio-tinto-air-quality
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53145614-78/kennecott-utah-pollution-clean.html.csp
http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top_stories/story/Utah-environmental-advocacy-groups-sue-Kennecott/6PeTR4Vf9k-LIYTxywKoHA.cspx
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56773709-78/board-director-environmental-epa.html.csp
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-08-23/pdf/2013-20662.pdf

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