We believe transparency both encourages accountability – ours as well as others’ – and allows us to have fact-based conversations about the issues at hand.
Being open about our tax payments, mineral development contracts, beneficial ownership and our stance on a range of other sustainability issues – like climate change – gives us the opportunity to enter into open, fact-based, conversations with all of our stakeholders, and provides a clear understanding of everyone's roles and responsibilities in a project.
In 2010, we pioneered transparency in tax payments within the mining industry, and in 2018, became a signatory to the B Team Responsible Tax Principles. We continue to report in increasing detail on taxes and royalties paid, and economic contribution.
Listening to a diverse range of views, and engaging in discussion – sometimes on challenging topics – is part of our approach to transparency. We are a founding member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and have actively supported EITI’s principles and global transparency and accountability standard since 2003.
Our transparency statement
As a founding member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and signatory to the B Team Responsible Tax Principles, we believe that greater transparency and accountability is key to building trust and encouraging sustainable business practices. We will disclose contracts with governments in relation to minerals development, where they are not subject to a confidentiality undertaking. We encourage governments to allow such disclosure.
We commit to disclosing taxes paid and payments to governments. We also support beneficial ownership disclosure and will strive to provide information of the beneficial owners of those entities that we have joint ventures with, in line with the EITI Standard and expectations.
We actively engage with governments and other stakeholders to share our experiences on disclosure and transparency, and encourage the harmonisation of reporting obligations aligned with global best practice.
Transparent tax reporting
We are recognised as a leader in transparent tax reporting: we were the first in our industry to disclose our payments to governments, and we have been reporting on our taxes and royalties paid, and our economic contribution, in increasing detail since 2010.
We are working closely with governments and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on new tax reporting codes and policies to ensure consistency in our reporting procedures. We also endorse The B Team Responsible Tax Principles, which aim to drive fairer, more sustainable tax systems and global standards of responsible tax practice.
We are also recognised for making our mineral development contracts with governments publicly available, where we are able to do so without breaching confidentiality agreements. We also actively encourage the governments we work with to allow us to disclose these contracts.
By being open about the terms of our contracts with governments, everyone can see what we are contributing to our host communities. And by supporting greater transparency across our industry, we can contribute to the responsible management of natural resources, help prevent corruption and seek to provide our communities with a strong foundation for prosperity.
This table sets out our contracts with governments relating to mineral development. It includes our initial 2019 disclosure, as well as a 2020 disclosure of all remaining contracts. We will continue to add to this over time as we enter into new contracts.
We have disclosed contracts relating to large, well-progressed projects which justify having specific contracting arrangements. We have not included contracts with a minimal or indirect connection to mineral development, nor licences and legislation which also apply to other companies and projects.
What do these contracts say?
The contracts are legal documents, which can be long and hard to read.
The projects covered by these contracts are significant for both 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 we are making significant financial investments to develop the project. 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.
The contracts 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 and/or mine
- What minerals, and how long we are allowed to explore for and/or mine them
- How we are required to leave the area when our exploration or mining activities are finished (what we normally refer to as “closure”)
The contracts may grant Rio Tinto rights such as rail or port access, or rights and obligations to build such infrastructure. For some projects, they address the taxation arrangements applicable to the project and clarify how laws relating to the environment or community contributions apply. They may also set out requirements for ownership of the interests or for transfers of ownership, as well as cover matters such as how the parties will resolve any disputes.
The EITI 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” – essentially the “real” owners of a project. Regarding the disclosure of the beneficial owners of publicly listed companies and their wholly owned subsidiaries, the EITI requires disclosure of the name of the stock exchange and a link to the filings where they are listed. This is to facilitate public access to a company’s 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.
To facilitate greater access to our ownership information, stakeholders can also download the above information in machine-readable format.
Political engagement and participation in industry associations
Our code of conduct, The way we work, sets clear standards to protect our political integrity. As a company, we do not favour any political party, group or individual, or involve ourselves in party political matters. We operate on a politically neutral basis. No political donations are made by the Group. In the United States, in accordance with the United States Federal Election Campaign Act, we provide administrative support for the Rio Tinto America Political Action Committee (PAC), which was created in 1990 and encourages voluntary employee participation in the political process. All Rio Tinto America PAC employee contributions are reviewed for compliance with federal and state law and are publicly reported in accordance with US election laws.
We do not offer, pay or accept bribes, no matter where we operate, no matter what the situation is, and no matter who is involved. Nor do we allow our agents or intermediaries to do so. We also have strict guidelines on giving and receiving benefits. Our business integrity standard and procedure includes strict guidelines for dealing with current and former government officials and politicians, including that they cannot be appointed to company positions or engaged as consultants, in certain circumstances, without approval of executive leadership and the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer.
We engage in public policy on issues that affect or could affect our business, including by contributing relevant information and sharing experiences that help create viable outcomes.
We join industry associations where membership provides value to our business, investors and other stakeholders. As part of our commitment to transparency, we publish the principles that guide our participation, the way we engage, as well as a list of the top five memberships by fees paid. We also track and disclose how we engage on climate policy issues, disclosing when positions and advocacy are significantly different to those we set out in our industry association documentation.
Working with civil society organisations
We value a diversity of thoughts and ideas, and are open to conversations that can help us improve the way we run our business, including listening to concerns. Our statement on the role of civil society organisations outlines our approach to engaging with civil society organisations and other human rights defenders.
Being open about the “what, why, where and who it is shared with” around personal data and raising stakeholders’ awareness of this issue helps build trust in our business – and in how we handle people’s data.
We take people’s right to data privacy very seriously. We have strict privacy statements in place across our business globally, and raise awareness about data privacy rights as part of our Ethics and Compliance training. Our global data privacy programme reflects the EU General Data Protection Regulation and reforms in Australia and Canada.
Integrity and our value chain
We conduct due diligence in our value chain to examine integrity and modern slavery performance. We are working to improve this process and to exercise positive influence in our value chain – from our suppliers all the way to our customers. We also understand that people want to know how we are managing risks and publish an annual modern slavery statement in line with reporting requirements in the UK and Australia.