MAC: Mines and Communities

Rio in Bundelkhand - diamonds or dust?

Published by MAC on 2013-04-22
Source: Nostromo Research (2013-04-21)

Investigation exposes gulf between promises & practice

Thousands of Indian citizens - including poor farmers, their wives and children - have been promised new livelihoods and improved social prospects by Rio Tinto.

The undertaking comes in the shape of the Bunder diamond mine, which the powerful UK-Australian mining conglomerate has been constructing in the Bundelkhand district of Madhya Pradesh.

There's no doubting the importance placed by  the company on this project.

It will not only become one of the world's biggest diamond producers. 

Equally significant is that Rio Tinto has "flagged up" Bunder as a benchmark for fulfilment of its corporate best practices in the fields of human (especially women's) rights, and environmental protection.

In January this year, an expert Indian-UK team went to Bundelkhand to examine these claims against the realities on the ground.

It discovered several major instances of a gulf between  "promises and practice".

Rio Tinto open health centre with UNICEF at Bunder Rio Tinto health centre at Bunder after

Emblematic of this was a mother and child health centre, established by Rio Tinto in cooperation with UNICEF and proudly featured in a report published in January by the company (see left hand photo).

What the team discovered was very different (right hand photo).

And this wasn't the only example of Rio Tinto failing to abide by its words.

Read the team's fully-illustrated report at: http://londonminingnetwork.org/2013/04/rio-tinto-what-it-says-and-what-it-really-does-in-india/

Hard copies of the report may be obtained by contacting: info@minesandcommunities.org

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