Currently, in our daily lives in Japan, the name Rio Tinto is not often heard. But in reality, our company provides materials that are indispensable to modern life. The houses in which we live, the offices in which we work, and the home appliances and electronics that we use; the cars and railways we use for transportation and the various devices we use for communication; and the electricity and infrastructure to support all these – not one of these would exist without the metals and minerals we produce in countries around the world.
The iron ore and molybdenum to make the steel that goes into buildings and bridges, vehicles and railway cars; the aluminium necessary to produce drink cans, foil, window sashes and wheels for motor vehicles; plus gold and copper, titanium dioxide and other industrial minerals, uranium and diamonds – we will continue to produce, and then deliver to Japan and the world, these essential materials.
Our business also plays a role in familiar places. For example, the 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, held in the city where our company is headquartered, were all made from metals supplied from our mines.
A partnership with deep roots
The name Rio Tinto comes from the Rio Tinto (Red River) that flows in southern Spain. It is over 140 years since our company was founded with the purchase of a mine on its banks that had been mined for copper since Roman times. If we unravel our history, it is no exaggeration to say that much of it was built together with Japanese companies. Our business, underpinned by the long-standing relationship of trust with Japan, became not only the driving force behind Japan’s remarkable growth, but at the same time the backbone of Rio Tinto’s operations.
Today, we do approximately 420 billion yen worth of business with over 250 Japanese companies, from steel mills to leading companies in each industrial sector and trading houses. While our business evolves in accordance with the times, we are confident that we will continue to contribute to the further development of Japan and of the world.
Meanwhile, our relationship with Japan does not end with the supply of resources. They return to their points of origin at Rio Tinto operations around the world in the form of mining machinery and equipment, rail cars and rails, ships and so forth that are made from those very resources. The Japanese machinery and equipment that Rio Tinto procures, underpinned by advanced technical capabilities, is indispensable to our operations in many areas. Many Japanese companies are joint venture partners in our operations and projects around the world, and through our close cooperation, we work to ensure our business is beneficial to one another and to society.
A member of the community
Contributing to society is also very important to Rio Tinto. Beyond business, we work to contribute to the development of the communities in which we operate, and Japan is no exception. For example, at the time of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, we established a ten-year scholarship fund at Tohoku University together with Komatsu Ltd., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction machinery, to support students who found it difficult to continue their studies because of the disaster. The programme supports more than 30 students each year. We also provide ongoing support for reconstruction activities in the affected areas of the Tohoku region, such as through cooperating with the organisation ARTS for HOPE. This undertakes activities to support children and other vulnerable people through art projects in the disaster area.
Rio Tinto considers safety, health and the environment as top priority for our business. Over many years, we have built true partnerships with our Japanese customers, suppliers and other stakeholders based on a deep sharing of this philosophy. Rio Tinto Japan believes our mission is to strengthen this partnership between Rio Tinto and Japan even further, into the future.
President and Representative director
Rio Tinto Japan Limited