Sustainable development

Sustainable development

Environment and land management

At Rio Tinto we plan for mine closures before development begins, and carry out rehabilitation progressively during a mine’s operating life. We have decades of experience in rehabilitation practices which see land returned to practical use.

Our environment activities and partnerships span Australia: from studies by the CSIRO on the Great Barrier Reef, to seed collection to help rehabilitation near Weipa, to growing hay in the Pilbara, to sensitive rehabilitation work within Kakadu National Park, to helping establish Australia’s largest national park in the Kimberley.

Reef for future generations

To monitor ocean chemistry along the length of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, in 2016 Rio Tinto extended a research partnership between CSIRO and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The Future Reef MAP project involves the deployment of an ocean sensor system on an existing Rio Tinto vessel that travels between Weipa and Gladstone. Rio Tinto also supports the Foundation’s Sea-quence research project to uncover core genetic data of Great Barrier Reef corals for use in climate change research.

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Weipa rehabilitation

In Far North Queensland, local Aboriginal people have been playing a key role in rehabilitation work at Weipa for decades – providing a stable and quality supply of seedlings to rehabilitate mined land. A regeneration nursery, expanded in 2014, provides upwards of 21,000 seedlings for rehabilitation, to help create a forest canopy for about 50 hectares of land.

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Ranger rehabilitation

At the Ranger uranium mine, 260 kilometres east of Darwin, adjacent to the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, progressive rehabilitation of the site is continuing alongside the production of uranium oxide from stockpiled ore. Energy Resource of Australia is committed to protecting the environment and its long-term vision is to return the disturbed area to a viable ecosystem in line with the obligations to stakeholders and regulators and the expectations of the community.

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Dampier Salt

Dampier Salt is the world’s largest salt exporter and 99 per cent of the total energy required to grow, process and ship the salt is provided by sun and wind.

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Making hay in the Pilbara

Rio Tinto is in the hay business. In the Pilbara, our Hamersley and Nammuldi agricultural projects use use surplus water generated from dewatering activity at mines to grow fodder that is turned into hay and purchased by local cattle stations across. This can help local pastoralists with good quality feed during high demand periods such as mustering. During summer Rhodes grass, a sub-tropical perennial, is grown, while oats provide a winter crop. Research is underway to grow native vegetation, with the aim of harvesting seeds to assist in mine site rehabilitation.

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