Global taxes & royalties paid
Direct economic contribution
Paid to suppliers globally
2021 was another challenging year as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to bring human tragedy and cause economic disruption. It is a credit to our people and partners that we have managed to keep our operations running safely despite these challenges.”
Working with shared purpose
We must ensure all our stakeholders benefit from the success of Rio Tinto. To do this, it is essential that we care for our employees, respect and safeguard the environment when we explore, build and operate, and repurpose or rehabilitate the land when our operations come to an end.
1. Includes contribution from net gains on disposal of interests in businesses.
2. Payables to governments includes charges for corporate income tax, government royalties, employer payroll taxes and other tax charges.
Our global tax contribution
Australia is where almost half of our assets are based and where more than 21,000 of our employees live. In 2021, we were one of Australia’s largest taxpayers, contributing $11.1 billion (A$14.8 billion) in taxes and royalties.
Australia is home to our largest operational footprint. From Bell Bay, Tasmania to Karratha, Western Australia and Weipa, Queensland, we have aluminium smelters, alumina refineries and iron ore, bauxite and salt operations across the country. Over the past ten years, we have paid $74 billion in taxes and royalties globally, of which 78%, or $58 billion (A$73 billion), was paid in Australia.
We are committed to decarbonise our business. For example, in the Pilbara we aim to deploy one gigawatt of renewable electricity to power our mining operations. This includes the construction of a 34MW solar plant at the Gudai-Darri mine which is expected to come online in 2022.
In Queensland, we have signed a statement of co-operation with the Queensland Government, agreeing to work together to help the Central Queensland region decarbonise while driving employment and economic outcomes for the State.
In 2021, we announced partnerships with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to study whether hydrogen can replace natural gas in alumina refineries to reduce emissions and with Sumitomo Corporation to study the construction of a hydrogen pilot plant at one of our refineries as a step towards realising a carbon-free aluminium supply chain.
We know there is more we need to do to be better custodians, neighbours and partners in Australia and beyond. In 2021, we appointed Kellie Parker as our new Chief Executive, Australia, to help us rebuild trust and strengthen our relationships across Australia. In September 2021, we published an interim report on our communities and social performance commitments, as we continue to implement the recommendations arising from the Juukan Gorge tragedy. As part of the commitments, we have redesigned our planning and operational practices to protect heritage sites, while modernising and strengthening our agreements with Traditional Owners. To ensure Indigenous peoples have a stronger voice in the business, we are investing $50 million over five years to attract, retain and grow Indigenous professionals and leaders. So far, we have increased the number of Australian Indigenous leaders in our business fivefold since November 2020.
As one of Australia’s largest employers, we are committed to improving our workplaces and creating a safe and inclusive culture for all. In 2021, we commissioned expert and former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick to conduct an independent review of our workplace culture to better understand, prevent and respond to harmful behaviours across our global operations.
We published the findings at the beginning of 2022, including 26 detailed recommendations to address the issues identified, all of which we will implement. This will, over time, contribute to a safer, more respectful and inclusive work environment.
We are one of the largest mining and metals businesses operating in Canada, with more than 12,000 of our employees working at over 35 sites and operations. We undertake exploration activities, and operate research and development centres, port and rail facilities, and technical and sales service centres, with hydroelectric facilities in British Columbia and Quebec.
Our Canadian high-quality alumina refinery and smelters in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec and Kitimat, British Columbia are powered entirely by clean, renewable hydropower. Our Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada produces stunning white gems, produced to the highest possible standards of safety and integrity. The site is home to an award-winning wind farm that has offset more than 28 million litres of diesel since its inception – prioritising environmental sustainability in the way that we mine. Our titanium operations have been processing ore from northern Quebec for more than 70 years.
Today, we are cracking the code on a secure supply of scandium, a rare earth element and important critical mineral from the waste streams of titanium dioxide production without the need for any additional mining. The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) is a leading producer of high-grade low-impurity iron ore concentrate and pellets, enabling customers worldwide to operate more productively, reduce emissions and produce higher-quality steel for the modern world.
In 2021, we spent a total of C$5.15 billion in Canada, including C$1.39 billion with local suppliers. Of this, C$250 million was spent with 86 Indigenous suppliers.
Partnerships play an important role across our operations in Canada. Our ELYSIS partnership with Alcoa, supported by Apple and the Governments of Canada and Quebec, is scaling up a technology with the potential to transform the aluminium industry through a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. In 2021, ELYSIS achieved a key milestone by successfully producing carbon-free aluminium at the Industrial Research and Development Centre in Saguenay. Work is now focused on accelerating the scale-up of the zero carbon ELYSISTM technology towards the demonstration of even larger commercial-size cells in 2023. Construction of the first commercial-scale prototype cells using ELYSISTM inert anode technology has now begun at our Alma smelter in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, Canada.
We continue to invest in a low-carbon future, and in November 2021, we announced an $87 million investment to increase our low-carbon aluminium production in Canada with 16 new smelting cells at our AP60 smelter, in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. In July 2021, we started operations at a new commercial scale demonstration plant to produce high-quality scandium oxide following a $6 million investment for the construction of a first module in the plant, with an initial capacity to produce three tonnes of scandium oxide per year, or approximately 20% of the current global market.
The Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the South Gobi Desert of Mongolia is a project almost unrivalled in the industry in its complexity and scale. When the underground mine is fully operational, Oyu Tolgoi will be among the world’s five largest copper mines. It is also one of the most modern, safe, sustainable and water-efficient operations globally, with a workforce who are more than 96% Mongolian.
Since 2010, Oyu Tolgoi has spent a total of $13.4 billion in-country, including $3.3 billion of taxes, fees and other payments to Mongolian national and local governments. To date, it is the largest foreign investment made in Mongolia. 74% of the total spend has been with the purchase of goods and services from hundreds of Mongolian suppliers. Our South Gobi spend has grown from $0.5 million in 2010 to a cumulative of over $888 million in 2021. The value of the spend with national suppliers that are majority owned by Mongolian citizens now accounts for 71% of overall operational spend, which brings the accumulative total spend with national suppliers to $4.1 billion since 2010.
At Oyu Tolgoi, we are working on several initiatives to reduce energy consumption and introduce renewable solutions. Studies on the use of solar power to provide energy to camp areas and other buildings will be initiated in 2022. In addition, the opportunity for wind-based renewable energy is being explored via a wind feasibility assessment.
We aim to have a positive impact on the communities surrounding the mine, including partner communities. We support herders’ cooperatives and work with local subject matter experts to improve livestock health services, increase the productivity of livestock, encourage vegetable and dairy production, and foster new business development through capacity building, strengthening market linkages and nurturing entrepreneurial mindsets amongst local communities.
Our Oyu Tolgoi South Gobi Development Strategy will expand on this work over the next five years to boost local procurement and employment above their current levels of 24.5% and 24.8%, respectively. We are also focusing on building the capability of geotechnical and mining professionals in Mongolia, and in 2021 we committed $2.75 million to a partnership with the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
Oyu Tolgoi LLC also makes an annual contribution of US$5 million to the Gobi Oyu Development Support Fund (DSF), an independent fund that supports sustainable community development. Since its creation in September 2015, the DSF has invested $33 million (including $5.7 million in 2021) in 250 sustainable development projects and programmes, which have resulted in the creation of more than 484 permanent jobs, and scholarships for 234 students, among many other achievements.
Kennecott, our operation based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of only two copper smelters in the US and delivers nearly 20% of US copper production. It is one of the world’s largest open pit mines in operation. Our borates business in California, U.S. Borax, supplies almost 30% of the global demand for borates. It is used in everything from agriculture to fibreglass insulation and in materials for renewable energy – for both wind and solar projects.
In 2021, we paid $81 million in taxes and royalties in the US. The transition to a lower-carbon world offers us opportunities to grow our business and in 2021, we continued to innovate and invest for future growth in the US.
To meet the growing demand for boron and zinc in fertilisation programmes, U.S. Borax launched two new products – AnhyborTM and ZincuborTM – to help farmers and fertiliser manufacturers unlock crop potential.
At Kennecott, we received approval for a 30MW solar power plant to be constructed in two phases: 5MW to be completed by 2023, expanding to 30MW by 2025. We are also updating eight haul trucks with lower emission engines, as well as conducting a trial to understand the potential for using renewable diesel, for completion in 2022.
In Arizona, the proposed Resolution Copper project continues to progress through comprehensive and independent social and environmental regulatory reviews. Resolution has the potential to supply up to 25% of US copper demand, and create several thousand direct and indirect jobs, with an economic value of approximately $1 billion annually over the estimated mine life. We continue to build relationships with impacted communities and Native American tribes, while we take into consideration their concerns.
We have been advancing our consultation and partnerships with neighbouring communities and Native American tribes throughout 2021. Of particular note is our partnership with Western Apache tribes and the US Forest Service to implement the Emory Oak Collaborative Tribal Restoration Initiative, centred on advancing Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
We have interests in three non-managed operations in South America – in Chile and Brazil. These operations provide local jobs, and our taxes to governments assist in funding critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and roads. In 2021, we paid $584 million in taxes and royalties in South America.
We own a 30% share in Escondida, in northern Chile, the world’s largest copper mine. It produces approximately 1.1 million tonnes of copper a year. Chile has set a power policy target (Energia 2025) for 20% of all Chilean energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. By tapping into Chile’s rich solar and wind resources, Escondida is on track to use 100% renewable electricity supply by the mid-2020s.
Alumar – the alumina refinery, in São Luís, Maranhão, north-east Brazil – started operations in 1984 and has been an important economic driver in the region ever since. The Alumar refinery is a joint venture, with 10% owned by Rio Tinto and the remaining 90% owned by Alcoa and South32, and is operated by Alcoa.
The Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN) mine complex in Porto Trombetas, northern Brazil opened in 1979. Today, it is Brazil’s largest bauxite mine, and in 2021 it produced approximately 12.6 million tonnes of bauxite. MRN is a joint venture, with 12% owned by Rio Tinto.
Our operations in Africa include mines, refineries and processing plants and we also conduct exploration activities across the continent. We have mineral sands operations in South Africa and Madagascar, while in Guinea, we have an iron ore project and a non-managed interest in a bauxite mine. We also have a heavy mineral sands project in Mozambique. In 2021, we paid tax in South Africa, Guinea and Madagascar.
Our Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) operation is a world leader in heavy mineral sands extraction and refining and is South Africa’s largest mineral sands producer. We have 5,429 employees and contractors working at RBM and we have been operating here for more than 40 years. In 2021, RBM contributed R340 million through taxes and royalties, and R27.7 million in community investment.
QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), in the Anosy region of Madagascar, produces ilmenite which is a major source of titanium dioxide, predominantly used as a white pigment in products such as paints and paper. QMM has invested $1 billion in Madagascar since 2005, with $350 million invested in building shared infrastructure through public-private partnerships. In 2021, 98% of the workforce was Malagasy. We invest $2.5 million each year in the environment and the community, including education, health and small business development.
Our Simandou iron ore joint-venture project in Guinea is the largest known undeveloped high-grade iron ore deposit in the world. With an increasing focus on emissions and decarbonisation across the global steel industry, demand for high-grade ores is expected to continue to grow. We remain committed to the development of Simandou, while delivering benefits to our partners, local communities and the people of Guinea.
We engage with stakeholders and local communities in Guinea to deliver a range of economic development and community health initiatives including COVID-19 and Ebola response programmes. We are also working with communities to help them prepare for future operations, identify and manage our impacts, and design and deliver regional and local economic development programmes. We are engaging with other mining projects in Guinea to discuss the potential for enhancing offset options, as well as supporting the Centre Forestier N’Zérékoré and Pic de Fon Classified Forest management committee.
Our history in Europe stretches back to our founding in 1873: our first mines were along the banks of the Rio Tinto in Andalusia, Spain. Today, we have operations and legacy sites across Europe, and our global headquarters are in London.
We continue to invest in Europe, with a focus on commodities and partnerships that enable the energy transition. We are investing in battery manufacturer InoBat Auto to support the development of a battery ecosystem in Europe, one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) markets. InoBat is a European-based battery technology and manufacturing company with a battery research and development centre and pilot battery line under development in Voderady, Slovakia. Our investment follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with InoBat in May 2021, to help fund and complete this facility. In our MoU, we have agreed to work together to progress the establishment of a “cradle-to-cradle” EV battery value chain in Europe – covering the full commodity lifecycle from mining through to recycling of lithium.
At the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, we committed $2.4 billion of funding in July 2021, subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits and licences. In January 2022, the Government of Serbia cancelled the Spatial Plan for the Jadar project. We are continuing to review the legal basis of the decision and the implications for our activities and people in Serbia.
In Iceland, we operate the ISAL aluminium smelter where we produce some of the highest-quality, lowest carbon footprint aluminium in the world, employing more than 500 workers on site. In 2021, we launched a partnership with Carbfix to capture carbon and permanently store it under land surrounding the ISAL smelter. The Coda Terminal is the world’s first carbon mineral storage hub. Liquified CO2 will be captured from European industrial plants’ emissions and transported to Iceland by specifically designed ships operating on sustainable fuel.