Contract and beneficial ownership disclosures

Contract and beneficial ownership disclosures

We believe that greater transparency and accountability helps build trust and credibility with our host communities, governments and other stakeholders.

One way we do this is by making our mineral development contracts with governments publicly available, where we are able to do so without breaching confidentiality agreements. We also actively encourage governments we work with to allow us to disclose these contracts.

We also provide information on Rio Tinto’s beneficial owners, as well as ownership information related to our joint venture partnerships.

By disclosing our contracts and ownership information, we can contribute to the responsible management of natural resources, build trust with our local communities, and help prevent corruption. This builds on our other work to improve transparency, including being a founding member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and a signatory to the B-team’s Tax Principles.

Our contracts

The projects which are the subject of the disclosed contacts are usually significant for all parties. The host governments and their citizens are granting access to non-renewable resources and receiving significant financial and non-financial benefits in return, and Rio Tinto is making significant financial investments to develop the project. The contracts give certainty to both parties, which is critical for big projects, and guides expectations as to how we will work together during the life of a mining project.

While some of our contracts are already publicly available, we want to provide a central, easily accessible list for people to view.

This table includes an initial disclosure of our contracts with governments relating to mineral development, and we will continue to add to this over time.

We have disclosed contracts relating to large, well-progressed projects which justify having specific contracting arrangements. Contracts with a minimal or indirect connection to mineral development are not included. Licences and legislation which apply across companies and projects are also not included.

We welcome feedback about our initial disclosure to sustainability@riotinto.com.

What do these contracts say?

The contracts are legal documents which can be long and complex to read.

They set out commitments we have made with host governments, including some of the rights and obligations associated with a project. However they also apply alongside other local and international laws, as well as other contracts that the parties may have entered into in relation to the project. This could include contracts with native title holders and local communities, joint venture partners, suppliers, financiers or other parties. 

All projects are different, and all governments have different mining laws and contracting practices, which means that not all of these contracts cover the same matters. However, these contracts often set out the core exploration and mining rights that a government is granting to Rio Tinto. This includes:

  • where we are allowed to explore for and/or mine
  • what minerals, and how long we are allowed to explore and/or mine them
  • how we are required to leave the area when our exploration or mining activities are finished

Beneficial ownership

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative defines “beneficial ownership” in respect of a company to mean “the natural person(s) who directly or indirectly ultimately owns or controls the corporate entity”. Regarding the disclosure of the beneficial owners of publicly listed companies and their wholly owned subsidiaries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative requires disclosure of the name of the stock exchange and a link to the filings where they are listed to facilitate public access to their beneficial ownership information.

The identity of the beneficial or real owners of the companies that have rights to extract or process minerals can be hidden by a chain of difficult to identify and/or unaccountable corporate entities. This can in turn hide problems including corruption and tax evasion.

To promote transparency through the disclosure of beneficial ownership information, we provide information on our substantial beneficial owners in this table.

We are also party to various commercial arrangements across our operations and other activities, including joint ventures. Consistent with the voluntary and additional commitments regarding joint venture party information in our Transparency Statement, we provide information on the names, interests, corporation type and domicile of our joint ventures and other jointly-owned entities, and of our partners, in this table.