IUCN-Rio Tinto: Due diligence & negotiations process

Negotiations update: May 2010

Following the production of the draft agreement at the March 2010 workshop (see below),  negotiations were undertaken during May 2010 to finalize the agreement, with an anticipated formal signing in July. At the conclusion of this first phase of the engagement, which is foreseen to have a three-year duration, it is anticipated by both parties to extend the engagement and collaboration on the work programmes to higher levels.

IUCN-Rio Tinto Facilitated workshop: March 2010

Following the collaborative IUCN-Rio Tinto site visits and the London workshop that took place over the course of 2009, Rio Tinto forwarded to IUCN a draft agreement for revision early this year. In March 2010, after providing extensive comments to Rio Tinto, IUCN met with the company’s representatives at their London headquarters for a three-day workshop to review comments and discuss a proposed programme of work. The meeting resulted in a three year draft agreement with the intention to commence the associated work programmes later this year. 

IUCN-Rio Tinto Facilitated Workshop: November 2009

Following the final site visit to South Africa, all site visit staff from both organizations were invited to attend a facilitated review of the visits in London from 3-4 November, 2009. The workshop included in-depth discussions on a way forward.

Site visit to Richards Bay Minerals, South Africa: October 2009

As part of the continuing due diligence process, four IUCN delegates visited the Richards Bay Minerals operations in Richards Bay, South Africa, from 28-30 October 2009.  The purpose of the site visit was to have an opportunity to see one Rio Tinto operation in South Africa and to have an opportunity to visit and have discussions with Rio Tinto/Richards Bay Minerals South Africa staff.

Site visit to Dunkerque Aluminium Smelter, France: September 2009

As part of the continuing due diligence process, five IUCN delegates visited the Dunkerque Aluminium Smelter near Dunkerque, France, from 23-24 September 2009. The agenda for the visit allowed the IUCN delegates to have an in-depth tour of the Rio Tinto Alcan  facilities as well as in-depth discussions with Rio Tinto Alcan staff.

 

Site visit to Rio Tinto Coal Australia: September 2009

As part of the continuing due diligence process, three IUCN delegates visited Rio Tinto Coal Australia operations in the Hunter Valley, Australia, from 29-30 September 2009.  The purpose of the site visit was to have an opportunity to see one Rio Tinto Coal operation in Australia and to have an opportunity to visit and have discussions with Rio Tinto Coal Australia staff.

Site visit to Kennecott Copper Mine, USA: August 2009

As part of the continuing due diligence process, three IUCN delegates visited the Kennecott Copper Mine near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, from 4-7 August 2009. The agenda for the visit allowed the IUCN delegates to have an in-depth tour of the facilities associated with Kennecott and be exposed to a variety of operations, staff, and partners associated with Rio Tinto’s operations in Utah.

Negotiations update: January 2009

Rio Tinto and IUCN continue to discuss the possibility of a formal relationship arrangement, with an IUCN Secretariat staff visit to Australia and Indonesia during November and December, 2008 and a visit to the London headquarters of Rio Tinto in January, 2009.

Dennis Hosack, Programme Officer and IUCN-Shell Relationship Manager, travelled to Australia the last week of November, 2008 to meet with Rio Tinto staff, IUCN members, and other stakeholders. Dr. Hosack visited Rio Tinto staff and operations in Melbourne, Newcastle, Singleton, the Hunter Valley, and Perth, Australia, before heading to Jakarta, Indonesia to continue the meetings. IUCN members and partners met with included: Conservation Council of Australia; Western Australia Department of Water, Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland; Birds Australia (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union); The Samdhana Institute; Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia); UNESCO, Coastal and Small Island, Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific; Indonesia Biodiversity Foundation (Kehati); WWF Indonesia; UNDP, Human Right, Legal & Justice Sector Reform; and Judicial Reform Team in Supreme Court of Indonesia.

In mid-January, Dr. Hosack met with additional IUCN members who have ongoing relationships with Rio Tinto, including Birdlife International, Earthwatch, Flora and Fauna International, and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Currently, the negotiations continue to proceed, with IUCN and Rio Tinto discussing a site visit to one of Rio Tinto’s mine sites before mid-2009, in order to receive further feedback on issues and potential relationship issues to be addressed in any future agreement.

IUCN completes Rio Tinto due diligence report: October 2008

IUCN has been in talks with the Rio Tinto Group over the past 18 months about the possibility of signing a partnership agreement with the intention of helping Rio Tinto reach it's goal of a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity.

In accordance with IUCN's Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement (2006), such agreements with business entities "…should be subjected to risk assessment and due diligence in order to determine the appropriateness of engagement with a private sector entity…".

A due diligence report on the Rio Tinto Group was prepared, which clearly illustrates that a partnership with Rio Tinto would be warranted on several fronts touched on in the 2006 Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement - "…businesses within sectors where change is important and / or likely, due to the scale of their impacts…", "businesses within sectors with an internal willingness or an external perceived need to effect change", and "...their demonstrated engagement with other conservation and development organisations and initiatives".