The mining group, which is headquartered in the UK and is a Founder Member of the Council, has attained certification by achieving the highest ethical, social and environmental standards established by the RJC’s Member Certification system.
The certification follows an independent audit and covers Rio Tinto’s diamond mines in Canada, western Australia and Zimbabwe. It also covers Kennecott Utah Copper (KUC), which produces gold and silver used in the jewellery industry.
RJC’s chief executive officer Michael Rae said: “RJC warmly congratulates Rio Tinto on becoming the first certified mining company. Rio Tinto’s RJC Member Certification results from a successful verification assessment conducted by KPMG, one of the independent third-party auditing firms accredited to the RJC’s Member Certification system. Rio Tinto currently occupies a unique position within the international mining industry of being the only gold and diamond miner.”
Rio Tinto’s Diamond and Minerals chief executive Harry Kenyon-Slaney said: “We support stakeholders’ demands for greater transparency and appreciate that people want to know that the jewellery they buy has been mined ethically and responsibly.
“As a founding member of the RJC, Rio Tinto is proud that our commitment to sustainability, integrity and environmental stewardship has been recognised and that we are the first mining company to receive this recognition from the RJC.”
Neither Rio Tinto’s Bunder diamond project in India nor Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia have been included within the audit because they are not yet in commercial production and don’t supply the jewellery industry.
Rio Tinto has committed to the RJC that both projects are being developed in accordance with responsible ethical, social and environmental practices, which respect human rights, in line with Rio Tinto’s own internal policies and processes. These policies and processes are themselves aligned with the RJC’s Code of Practice.