Rio Tinto seals a deal worth US$3.5 billion (£2.77 billion) to sell out of their production sharing contract for the Grasberg mine in West Papua, which continues to pollute the local ecosystem, posing risks to people’s health, affecting their livelihoods, and causing many other social problems. Rio Tinto refuses to take any responsibility for this.


At the 2019 AGM, the company is asked how much of the US$3.5 billion would be put aside for liabilities and legacy issues. The chairman replies that Rio Tinto considers the price negotiated for its departure from the project to include “selling on” all its liabilities and that therefore the company is no longer (legally or morally) responsible for the ongoing impacts of this mine. London Mining Network counters that Rio Tinto cannot simply sell its responsibility for damage done in the past and that the company must be held accountable for its role in causing social and environmental problems.


The Grasberg / Nemangkawi mine’s entire history is noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline, including its association with colonialism, human rights abuses and denying West Papuans autonomy and control over their lands, as well as its pollution of the environment through waste dumping which has detrimental impacts on people’s health and livelihoods.


Cut and Run report by LMN