Rio Tinto caught forging social licence

Published: December 13, 2013

Global mining giant Rio Tinto has been caught forging a social licence to expand its mining operations, according to the Lock The Gate Alliance.

Workers at Rio's Mt Thorley Warkworth mine complex say they were effectively forced to lodge submissions in support of the mine's expansion, according to todays Newcastle Herald. The revelations are further evidence that due process is being abused and that Rio Tinto have no commitment to public consultation or the rule of law, according to the Alliance.

“Rio Tinto have shown there is no limit to how low they will stoop to force this mine proposal on the village of Bulga, against the will of the people who live there. They are treating the public, the courts, and their employees with disdain,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for the Alliance.

“After keeping the new mining application a secret from local residents, Rio Tinto orchestrated a flood of forced-submissions in favour of the project. They then had the audacity to suggest that the majority of the public therefore supported the mine expansion. They have no credibility.

“Rio Tinto have no social licence to expand this mine, but they have been caught trying to forge one.”

“While the mining company was pressing its workers to write submissions, the NSW government's own Health Department did not have time to write one,” said Phillips.

Lock The Gate and the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association wrote to NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard this week, urging him to suspend the approval process for the Warkworth mine.

“Public trust in the NSW coal mine approval process is already at rock bottom,” said Phillips, “and the extraordinary abuses of basic fair procedure that we are seeing with Warkworth will not help. Minister Hazzard must stop the clock on the Warkworth mine expansion.”

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