Statement of Commitment for Indigenous Peoples

Statement of Commitment for Indigenous Peoples

Canada’s largest mining and metals company, Rio Tinto has operated in Canada for more than 100 years. We understand that developing the country’s rich resource potential sustainably requires investment in people, communities, and long term relationships. We believe that Indigenous communities where we work should benefit from opportunities for business development, employment, training and education. We continue to make a positive difference in these communities through partnership.

We believe that by working in partnership with Indigenous communities we can all benefit from responsible and sustainable resource development.

As part of our commitment to working with Indigenous Peoples in communities where we operate, Rio Tinto takes a long-term approach to relationships, based on mutual respect, trust, and benefit.

We seek to be transparent, and direct in our engagement with our Indigenous partners, and recognize and respect their unique worldviews and perspectives.

We recognize and respect the importance of Indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, historical and spiritual connection with the land.

We support our Indigenous partners to promote and enhance community capacity, such as business development.

At Rio Tinto we place a priority on opportunities for Indigenous education. This emphasis is driven by our belief that education is the path to opportunity; and that educational opportunities will assist in encouraging and shaping the leaders of the future.

Our approach to develop and support valued and mutually beneficial long-term relationships with diverse Indigenous peoples across Canada is important to Rio Tinto and our operating business units.

Rio Tinto is guided by The way we work, Rio Tinto’s global policy framework for business practice. We are also guided by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Indigenous Peoples and Mining Position Statement.

Areas of focus

Education, skills and training: Rio Tinto has a significant partnership with the Indigenous-led education organization, Indspire. The Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students supports skills training to help Indigenous students of all ages. Rio Tinto actively works with Indigenous business and community leaders and with governments to build pathways for success through education, leveraging our combined resources, experience, and knowledge. Many of these commitments are formalized in local agreements. Enabling students and assisting with education is a key pillar of our Indigenous engagement.

Cultural education and preservation: We seek to raise awareness of traditional land use, knowledge and cultural practices of Indigenous people amongst Rio Tinto employees. We recognize and respect the significance of the cultural heritage of our host communities, and require that cultural heritage management systems are incorporated into all of our business activities and operations.

Economic development: We work with communities to create sustainable economic opportunities associated with our operations, such as direct employment, contracting, and supply and service agreements. We are proud that Diavik in the Northwest Territories and BC Works in Northern British Columbia are best in practice examples for local hiring and procurement. Where appropriate, we also support broader initiatives that support economic diversification.

Environmental stewardship: In all our work with Indigenous communities we adhere to the highest environmental standards and practices as set out in our global Health, Safety, Environment and Communities policy, against which Rio Tinto provide public reporting of our performance in our annual sustainable development report. For example, Rio Tinto Aluminium in Northern British Columbia has partnered with local community members and organizations to contribute to the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative. The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) in Labrador has an on-going revegetation campaign that has been set up to ensure the protection and enhancement of local ecosystems.

We believe that management of environmental impacts of our projects is better informed with the inclusion of community and traditional ecological knowledge. At Diavik in the Northwest Territories, a traditional knowledge panel provides ongoing traditional knowledge advice and recommendations for consideration in the design of the mine closure plan and environmental monitoring of closure performance.

Into the future, Rio Tinto will continue to be invested in Canada, and we are committed to building the foundations for sustainable success together with our Indigenous partners.

Alfredo Barrios
Chief executive, Rio Tinto Aluminium