Rio Tinto, the international mining group headquartered in the UK, is the first mining company to be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council for its “ethical, social and environmental standards”.
The certification covers Rio Tinto’s Diavik (Canada), Argyle (Western Australia) and Murowa (Zimbabwe) diamond mines as well as Kennecott Utah Copper which produces gold and silver for the jewellery industry.
Congratulating the company for becoming the first certified mining company, RJC chief executive officer Michael Rae said certification could only be achieved via a successful verification assessment conducted independently by a third-party auditing firm.
“Rio Tinto currently occupies a unique position within the international mining industry of being the only certified gold and diamond miner,” he said.
Rio Tinto chief executive, diamonds and minerals, Harry Kenyon-Slaney said that as a founding member of the RJC the company was proud that its commitment to sustainability, integrity and environmental stewardship has been recognised.
“We support stakeholders’ demands for greater transparency and appreciate that people want to know that the jewellery they buy has been mined responsibly and ethically,” he said.
Rio Tinto’s Bunder diamond project in India and Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia were not included within the RJC audit as they are not yet in commercial production and don’t supply the jewellery industry.
Rio Tinto has however assured the RJC that both projects are being developed “with responsible ethical, social and environmental practices which respect human rights” in line with Rio Tinto’s own internal policies and processes which are aligned with the RJC’s Code of Practice.