Rio Tinto

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Posted by sonny 04/01/2009 @ 07:20

Tags : rio tinto, gold, mining, business

News headlines
Chinalco reportedly to change Rio Tinto deal terms - MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Chinalco is prepared to restructure the terms of its $19.5 billion investment in mining giant Rio Tinto /quotes/comstock/13*!rtp/quotes/nls/rtp (RTP 170.21, -4.92, -2.81%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:rio (UK:RIO 2657, -207.00,...
High school soccer players thrilled to be playing at Rio Tinto - Deseret News
By Dan Rasmussen After much wrangling and uncertainty over whether prep soccer championship games would be held at Rio Tinto Stadium, rsl's state-of-the-art soccer venue will be used to host the 5A and 4A boys soccer state championship games tonight....
Rio Tinto PLC (RTP) pricewatch Alert Up To 66.70% Return - Market Intelligence Center
Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RTP) closed yesterday at $175.13. So far the stock has hit a 52-week low of $59.20 and 52-week high of $538.00. Rio Tinto PLC stock has been showing support around 169.99 and resistance in the 183.57 range....
Vale's iron ore 09 price cut seen smaller-analysts - Reuters
AX) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L) to set new prices before committing to a new rate with its clients. Last year it lost out after concluding its price talks first. Australian firms clinched better deals shortly after. The company obtained increases of up to 71...
Asia steelmakers, iron ore miners grapple on price -
The benchmark iron ore price is set in often bitter talks between Chinese market leader Baosteel and the world's top iron ore miners -- Brazil's Vale, Anglo-Australian rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Parallel talks with Japanese and South Korean...
Rio Tinto begins ilmenite shipments out of crisis-hit Madagascar - Monsters and
Antananarivo - A first shipment of ilmenite from mining giant Rio Tinto's vast mineral sands project in the south of crisis-hit Madagascar was en route to Canada this week, local media reported. Two daily newspapers reported Wednesday that Qit...
UK Stocks Fall for a Second Day; HSBC, Banks Lead the Retreat - Bloomberg
Rio Tinto Group retreated 0.8 percent to 2840 pence. Aluminum Corp. of China, the nation's biggest aluminum producer, may take a smaller stake in Rio Tinto to win approval for its $19.5 billion investment, the Sydney Morning Herald said, citing people...
PRESS DIGEST-Australian Business News - May 21 - Reuters
AX) and Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) are expected to finalise iron ore contract prices with Japanese and Korean steel mills within days, with the result likely to significantly decrease Australia's terms of trade. Steel makers from the two countries are believed...
UK Stocks Climb, Extending Four-Month High; Lonmin Advances - Bloomberg
Rio Tinto Group increased as Aluminum Corp. of China said it was “sticking” to its proposed $19.5 billion investment plan in Rio. British Airways Plc jumped more than 4 percent, leading airline shares higher. The FTSE 100 Index added 7.11 or 0.2...
RSL returns to Rio Tinto to take on Wizards - Sports Network
Sandy, UT (Sports Network) - Real Salt Lake returns home for a Major League Soccer fixture vs. the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Utah club is hoping that it can rebound from an 0-1 loss at Chivas USA last weekend....

Rio Tinto (river)

none Photograph of Rio Tinto. (Credit - Carol Stoker)

The Río Tinto is a river in southwestern Spain that originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia. It flows generally south-southwest, reaching the Gulf of Cádiz at Huelva. The Río Tinto, or Red River in English, is notable for being very acidic (pH 2), and has a deep reddish hue due to the iron dissolved in the water. The acid mine drainage from the mines leads to severe environmental problems due to the heavy metal concentrations in the river.

The ore body was deposited in the Carboniferous (300-350 Ma) by hydrothermal activities on the sea floor. The river area has a history of mining activity since the Tartessans and the Iberians started mining in 3000 BCE. The mining continued over the Phoenician era and under the Roman Empire until the second part of the 15th century: primarily for copper but also for iron and manganese. In the nineteenth century the mining operation started in large scale mainly by mining companies from the United Kingdom. After the peak of production in 1930 production declined and ended for copper mining in 1986 and for silver and gold in 1996.

This river has gained recent scientific interest due to the presence of extremophile aerobic bacteria that dwell in the water. These life forms are considered the likely cause of the high acid content of the water. The subsurface rocks on the river bed contain iron and sulfide minerals on which the bacteria feed.

The extreme conditions in the river may be analogous to other locations in the solar system thought to contain liquid water, such as subterranean Mars. NASA scientists have also directly compared the chemistry of the water in which the rocks of Meridiani Planum were deposited in the past with the Río Tinto. Likewise Jupiter's moon Europa is theorized to contain an acidic ocean of water underneath its ice surface. Thus the river is of interest to astrobiologists.

Based partially on research done near the Río Tinto river, two NASA scientists reported in February 2005 that they had found strong evidence of present life on Mars (Berger, 2005). NASA officials denied the scientists' claims shortly after they were released, however, and one of the scientists, Carol Stoker, backed off from her initial assertions (, 2005).

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Rio Tinto Coal Australia

Rio Tinto Coal Australia (RTCA) is an Australian mining organisation, and is part of the Energy Group of Rio Tinto Group. In Queensland, RTCA operates the Blair Athol, Hail Creek, Kestrel and Tarong Mines. RTCA also manages the Coal & Allied operations in New South Wales. The Coal & Allied operations are the Bengalla, Hunter Valley and Mount Thorley Warkworth mines.

Blair Athol Mine is an open-cut operation near Clermont. Mining operations are scheduled to cease in 2016.

Coal is hauled using 170 tonne capacity rear dump trucks to the Coal Handling Plant (CHP). The CHP includes a primary crusher station, and secondary and tertiary screening and crushing stations.

Coal product is stored on three stockpiles. Total stockpile capacity is 600,000 tonnes. Coal can be fed directly from the plant to the train loading bin. Trains operated by QR take up to 9,500 tonnes of coal each to the Dalrymple Bay Coal terminal for shipping.

RTCA plans to develop a new open cut thermal coal mine in central Queensland near Clermont. The mine is estimated to cost $A950 million. The mine is expected to reach a full capacity of 12.2 Mtpa in 2013. .At this rate of production mine life is about 17 years. Clermont Mine will be a truck and shovel operation. .Coal from the mine will be transported to the existing coal handling plant at Blair Athol Mine along a 13.3 kilometre conveyor.

Hail Creek Mine is an 8 million tonne per annum open-cut operation with reserves of more than 200 million tonnes. Reserve estimates are based on borehole data. The mine produces two coking coal products: “Hail Creek” brand and “Brumby” brand. The coal is mined from both the Elphinstone Seam (average 6.4 metres thick) and the Hynds Seam (average 8.3 metres thick). The mine was officially opened in November 2003. Overburden is removed by dragline. The coal is loaded onto 240 tonne rear dump trucks using excavators. The Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) removes impurities, such as rock and ash, from the run of mine coal to meet product specifications. The Hail Creek Mine deposit was discovered in 1968.

Kestrel Mine is located on Lilyvale Road, near Emerald, in the Bowen Basin coal mining area.

Kestrel Mine was called Gordonstone Mine when founded by mining company ARCO. Operations commenced in 1992. RTCA purchased an 80% interest in the mine in February 1999. The remaining 20% interest is held by Mitsui Kestrel Coal Investment, which is owned by the Mitsui Group. The mining operation is managed by RTCA.

The name "Kestrel" was selected by a vote of employees in 1999. The Nankeen Kestrel, a small, slim falcon, is common to the area.

Tarong's Meandu Mine is the supplier of coal to Tarong Power Station. The mine commenced coal delivery in 1983. The coal is mined from the Tarong Basin. After blasting, a dragline and a truck and shovel fleet are used to remove the rock and overburden to expose the coal seam. After the coal has been drilled and blasted, it is transported using 180 tonne haul trucks. The Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) washes the coal to required specifications. It is then transported to Tarong Power Station by conveyor belt. Environmentally, Tarong Mine is located in the headwaters of the Burnett River system, and is surrounded by State Forest and the Tarong National Park.

Coal and Allied Industries is a partly-owned subsidiary of RTCA with operations in New South Wales. RTCA owns approximately 75% of Coal and Allied, and manages the operations of the company.

Bengalla Mine is a truck and excavator operation, with a P&H 9020-65B dragline for overburden removal. The excavator is a Hitachi EX3500 model. The truck fleet consists of five Euclid R280 rear dump trucks and four Euclid R190 dump trucks. Other major equipment includes two Svedala SKF 50i drills and a Le Tourneau L1800 loader. The mine has about 220 employees.

Hunter Valley Operations (commonly known in the business as HVO) is a multi-seam, multi-pit open cut mining operation located in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, 24 km Northwest of Singleton and 110 km from Newcastle. The administration building is located on Lemington Road.

Production commenced at HVO in 1968 at the current West Pit, which was then part of the Howick mine. The Hunter Valley No. 1 mine began production in 1979. In 2000 Coal & Allied merged the Howick and Hunter Valley mines to create Hunter Valley Operations. The Lemington mine, which began production in 1971, was acquired and merged into Hunter Valley Operations in 2001.

Hunter Valley Operations is 100 per cent owned by Coal & Allied Industries Ltd.

HVO mining operations are centred in the Wittingham Coal Measures of the Hunter Coalfield, which is part of a Permian coal basin known as the Sydney basin.

The Hunter Valley coal preparation plant (HVCPP) is consented to receive has a capacity of about 20 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run of mine (ROM) coal utilising dense medium cyclones and spirals. Product conveyor to Hunter Valley load point. The Howick coal preparation plant (HCPP) is consented to take 6Mtpa ROM coal, utilising dense medium cyclones and spirals. It has a conveyor for domestic supply to Macquarie Generation power station. The Lemington Coal Preparation Plant (LCPP) has a capacity of 5.5Mtpa but is currently idle.

HVO has marketable reserves of thermal and coking coal of about 320.3Mt (meaning a life span in excess of 20 years. In 2007, production of coking coal was 1.83Mt, and thermal coal produced was 8.264Mt. This was down on previous years with Hunter Valley coal chain constraints and the severe weather events of June.

Both the mine and washery plants operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week on a four panel roster. The operations are staffed by over 700 permanent employees supported by additional labour and service contractors.

In 2006 HVO won Rio Tinto's CEO Safety Award for most improved performance and in 2007 HVO won Rio Tinto's CEO Safety Award for safety performance.

Mount Thorley Warkworth (commonly known in the business as "MTW") is an open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley. In 2001 Coal & Allied purchased an interest in the Warkworth mine adjacent to its existing Mount Thorley Operations. The mine produces thermal and coking coal.

MTW is located about 15km south-west of Singleton, New South Wales near the industrial estate of Mount Thorley.

The pits are mined using draglines, shovel and trucks, to a depth of 100m. There are three main pit areas, West, North and South pits.

The coal preparation plants at MTW have a capacity of 9 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of feed yielding about 5.8Mtpa of saleable coal, utilising crushing, screening, dense medium separation, froth flotation. Three-stage double roll crushers, dense medium cyclones, spirals, froth flotation unit, screen bowl centrifuges, automatic stackers/reclaimers.

The marketable reserves at MTW are Mount Thorley of 20.5Mt and at Warkworth of 161.6Mt.

Coal & Allied have been the major (naming rights) sponsor for the Newcastle Knights Rugby League team in the Australian Rugby League competition since 2005.

RTCA is a platinum sponsor of the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA). The sponsorship includes a first year tertiary study scholarship to encourage students into the minerals and energy sector.

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Rio Tinto Group

Rhodesia was the location of Rio Tinto's first major international expansion of mining activities.

Rio Tinto is a multinational mining and resources group founded originally in 1873. It is the third-largest coal mining company in the world as of late 2008.

Since 1995, Rio Tinto has been a dual-listed company. Rio Tinto Limited, formerly known as Conzinc Riotinto of Australia (CRA), is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with Rio Tinto plc (formerly RTZ or Rio Tinto Zinc) listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as New York Stock Exchange (under ticker RTP). The two companies are managed as a single economic unit by a unified board, with a share in either company entitling the owner to the same voting rights and dividend payouts. RTZ shareholders made up 76.7 percent of the new unified entity, which is primarily managed from London.

Since antiquity, a site along the Rio Tinto river in the Andalusian Province of Huelva (Spain) has been mined for copper, silver, gold, and other minerals. Approximately 3,000 BCE, Iberians and Tartessians began mining the site, followed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. After a period of abandonment, the mines were rediscovered in 1556 and the Spanish government began operating them once again in 1724. However, Spain's mining operations there were inefficient, and the government itself otherwise distracted by political and financial crises, leading the government to sell the mines (at a price later determined to be well below actual value) in 1873.

The purchasers of the mine were led by Hugh Matheson's Matheson and Company, which ultimately formed a syndicate consisting of Deutsche Bank (56% ownership), Matheson (24%), and railway firm Clark, Punchard and Company (20%). At an auction held by the Spanish government for sale of the mine on February 17, 1873, the group won with a bid 3,680,000 pounds sterling (92,800,000 Spanish pesetas). The bid also specified that Spain permanently relinquish any right to claim royalties on the mine's production. Following purchase of the mine, the syndicate launched the Rio Tinto Company, registering it on March 29, 1873.

Following their purchase of the Rio Tinto mine in 1871, the new ownership constructed a number of new processing facilities, innovated new mining techniques, and expanded mining activities. From 1877 through 1891, the Rio Tinto mine was the world's leading producer of copper. The company also became the globe's top producer of sulphur and a leading supplier of pyrites.

From 1871 thru 1925, the company was inwardly focused on fully exploiting the Rio Tinto mine, with little attention paid to expansion or exploration activities outside of Spain. The company enjoyed strong financial success until 1914, cooperating with other pyrite producers to control market prices. However, World War I and its aftermath effectively eliminated the United States as a viable market for European pyrites, leading to a decline in the firm's prominence.

The company's failure to diversify during this period led to the slow decline of the company among the ranks of international mining firms. However, this changed in 1925, when Sir Auckland Geddes succeeded Lord Alfred Milner as chairman. Geddes and the new management team he installed focused on diversification of the company's investments and operations and reformation of marketing strategy. Geddes led the company into a series of joint ventures with customers in the development of new technologies, as well as exploration and develoment of new mines outside of Spain.

Perhaps most significant was the company's investment in copper mines in Rhodesia, which it eventually consolidated into the Rhokana Corporation. These and later efforts at diversification eventually allowed the company to divest from the Rio Tinto mine in Spain. By the 1950s, Franco's nationalistic government had made it increasingly difficult to exploit Spanish resources for the profit of foreigners. Rio Tinto Company, supported by its international investments, was able to divest two-thirds of its Spanish operations in 1954 and the remainder over the following years.

Like many major mining companies, the Rio Tinto Group has historically grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

The company's first major acquisition occurred in 1929, when the company issued stock for the purpose of raising 2.5 million pounds to invest in Rhodesian copper mining companies, which was fully invested by the end of 1930. The Rio Tinto company consolidated its holdings of these various firms under the Rhokana Corporation by forcing the various companies to merge.

Rio Tinto's investment in Rhodesian copper mines did much to support the company through troubled times at its Spanish Rio Tinto operations spanning the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and Franco's nationalistic policies. In 1950s the political situation made it increasingly difficult for mostly British and French owners to extract profits from Sapnish operations, and the company decided to dispose of the mines from which it took its name. Thus, in 1954 Rio Tinto Company sold two thirds of its stake in the Rio Tinto mines, disposing of the rest over the following years. The sale of the mines financed extensive exploration activities over the following decade.

The company's exploration activities presented the company with an abundance of opportunities; however it lacked sufficient capital and operating revenue to exploit those opportunities. This situation precipitated the next, and perhaps most significant, merger in the company's history. In 1962 Rio Tinto Company merged with the Australian firm Consolidated Zinc to form the Rio Tinto - Zinc Corporation ("RTZ") and its main subsidiary, Conzinc Riotinto of Australia ("CRA"). The merger provided Rio Tinto the ability to exploit its new-found opportunities, and gave Consolidated Zinc a much larger asset base.

RTZ and CRA were separately managed and operated, with CRA focusing on opportunities within Australasia and RTZ taking the rest of the world. However, the companies continued to trade separately, and RTZ's ownership of CRA dipped below 50% by 1986. Strategic needs of the two companies eventually led to conflicts of interest regarding new mining opportunities, and shareholders of both companies determined a merger was in their mutual best interest. In 1995, the companies merged into a dual listed company, in which management was consolidated into a single entity and share holder interests were aligned and equivalent, although maintained as shares in separately named entities. (For more detail, see Corporate Status section below.) The merger also precipitated a name change; after two years as RTZ-CRA, RTZ became Rio Tinto plc and CRA became Rio Tinto Limited, referred to collectively as Rio Tinto Group or simply Rio Tinto.

Major acquisitions following the Consolidated Zinc merger included U.S. Borax, a major producer of borax, bought in 1968, Kennecott Utah Copper and BP Australia's coal assets which were bought from British Petroleum in 1989 and a 70.7% interest in the New South Wales operations of Coal & Allied Industries also in 1989. In 1993 the Company acquired Nerco and also the United States coal mining businesses of Cordero.

In 2000 Rio Tinto acquired Northern Limited, an Australian company with iron ore and uranium mines, for $2.8 billion. The takeover was partially motivated as a response to Northern Limited's 1999 bid to have Rio Tinto's Pilbara railway network declared open access. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regulatory body approved the acquisition in August 2000, and the purchase was completed in October of the same year. That year Rio Tinto also bought North Ltd and Ashton Mining for 4 billion USD, adding additional resources in aluminum, iron ore, diamonds, and coal. In 2001 it bought (under Coal and Allied Industries) the Australian coal businesses of the Peabody Energy Corporation.

On 14 November 2007 Rio Tinto bought Canadian aluminium company Alcan Inc. for $38.1 billion. Alcan's Chief Executive Dick Evans leads the new division, which has been renamed Rio Tinto Alcan and its headquarters situated in Montreal.

On 8 November 2007, rival mining company BHP Billiton announced it was seeking to purchase Rio Tinto Group in an all share deal. This offer was rejected by the board of Rio Tinto as it "significantly undervalues" the company. Another attempt by BHP Billiton for a hostile takeover valuing it at US$147 billion was rejected on the same grounds. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government-owned resources group Chinalco and the US aluminum producer Alcoa purchased 12 per cent of Rio Tinto's London-listed shares in a move that could block or severely complicate BHP Billiton's plans to buy its rival. In the six months from November 1, 2007 to April 1, 2008, Rio Tinto's daily closing NYSE share price increased 16% from US$361 to $420, soaring and dipping along the way between $478 and $331. The bid was withdrawn on November 25, 2008 due to market instability from the global recession.

In response to the global financial crisis and mounting debt problems, on December 10, 2008 Rio Tinto announced the cut of 14,000 jobs (5,500 employees and 8,500 contractors), a reduction in exploration budgets, and the closure of one of its two London offices.

In February 2009 Rio Tinto confirmed that it was in talks for Chinalco for them to take a significant stake in the Company.

These operating groups are supported by separate divisions providing exploration and technology services.

Rio Tinto Group is structured as a dual-listed company, with listings on both the London Stock Exchange (symbol: RIO) in London under the name Rio Tinto Plc and the Australian Securities Exchange (symbol: RIO) in Sydney under the name Rio Tinto Limited. The dual-listed company structure grants shareholders of the two companies the same proportional economic interests and ownership rights in the consolidated Rio Tinto Group, in such a way as to be equivalent to all shareholders of the two companies actually being shareholders in a single, unified entity. This structure was implemented in order to avoid adverse tax consequences and regulatory burdens. In order to eliminate currency exchange issues, the company's accounts are kept, and dividends paid, in United States dollars.

Rio Tinto is one of the largest companies listed on either exchange. As such, it is included in the widely-quoted indices for each market: the FTSE 100 Index of the London Stock Exchange, and the S&P/ASX 200 index of the Australian Securities Exchange . LSE-listed shares in Rio Tinto plc can also be traded indirectly on the New York Stock Exchange via an American Depositary Receipt.

Under the company's dual-listed company structure, management powers of the Rio Tinto Group are consolidated in a single senior management group led by a board of directors and executive committee. The board of directors has both executive and non-executive members, while the executive committee is composed of the heads of major operational groups.

Rio Tinto's main business is the production of raw materials including copper, iron ore, coal, bauxite, diamonds, uranium, and industrial minerals including titanium dioxide, talc, salt, gypsum, and borates. Rio Tinto also performs processing on some of these materials, with plants dedicated to processing bauxite into alumina and aluminium, and smelting iron ore into iron. The company also produces other metals and minerals as byproducts from the processing of its main resources, including gold, silver, molybdenum, sulfuric acid, nickel, potash, lead, and zinc.

Copper was one of Rio Tinto Group's main products from its earliest days operating at the Rio Tinto complex of mines in Spain. Since that time, the company has divested itself from its original Spanish mines, and grown its copper mining capacity through acquisitions of major copper resources around the world. The Copper group's main active mining interests are Minera Escondida in Chile, the Grasberg mine on Papua New Guinea, Kennecott Utah Copper in the United States, Northparkes in Australia, and Palabora in South Africa. Most of these mines are joint ventures with other major mining companies, with Rio Tinto's ownership ranging from 30% to 80%; only Kennecott is wholly owned. Operations typically include the mining of ore thru to production of 99.99% purified copper, including extraction of economically valuable byproducts. Together, Rio Tinto's share of copper production at its mines totaled nearly 700,000 tonnes, making the company the fourth-largest copper producer in the world.

Rio Tinto Copper continues to seek new opportunities for expansion, with major exploration activities at the Resolution Copper project in the United States, La Granja mine in Peru, and Oyuu Tolgoi in Mongolia. In addition, the company is seeking to become a major producer of nickel, with exploration projects currently underway in the United States and Indonesia.

Although not the primary focus of Rio Tinto Copper's operations, several economically valuable byproducts are produced during the refining of copper ore into purified copper. Gold, silver, molybdenum, and sulfuric acid are all removed from copper ore during processing. Due to the scale of Rio Tinto's copper mining and processing facilities, the company is also a leading producer of these materials, which drive substantial revenues to the company.

The Rio Tinto Group has consolidated its aluminium-related businesses in its Rio Tinto Alcan division. Rio Tinto Alcan was formed in late 2007, when Rio Tinto purchased the Canadian company Alcan for $38.1 billion. Combined with Rio Tinto's existing aluminium-related assets, the new Rio Tinto Alcan vaulted to the world number one producer of bauxite, alumina, and aluminium. Rio Tinto Alcan kept key leadership from Alcan, and the company's headquarters remain in Montreal.

Rio Tinto Alcan divides its operations into three main business units. The Bauxite and Alumina unit mines raw bauxite from locations in Australia, Brazil, and west Africa. The unit then refines the bauxite into alumina at refineries located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and France. The Primary Metal business unit's operations consist of smelting aluminium from alumina, with smelters located in 11 countries around the world. The Primary Metal group also operates several power plants in order to support the energy-intensive smelting process. Finally, the Engineered Products unit processes aluminium into derivative products for specialty uses ranging from beverage containers to aerospace appliations.

All told, Rio Tinto Alcan has interests in seven bauxite mines and deposits, six alumina refineries and six specialty alumina plants, 26 aluminium smelters, 13 power plants, and 120 facilities for the manufacture of specialty products.

Rio Tinto Energy is a business group of Rio Tinto dedicated to the mining and sale of coal and uranium.

The company focuses on both fuel coal for electricity generation in coal power plants, and coking coal for use in iron and steel mills. The company's coal operations are located in Australia and the United States, mainly operating under its subsidiaries such as Rio Tinto Coal Australia and Rio Tinto Coal America. In 2009, Rio Tinto was engaged in an ongoing attempt to sell off assets of Rio Tinto Coal America. In March 2009, the company agreed to sell a major asset, the Jacob Ranch mine in Wyoming, to Arch Coal for $761 million, and is continuing to seek buyers for remaining assets in an effort to reduce corporate debt.

Rio Tinto's uranium operations are located at two mines: the Ranger Uranium Mine of Energy Resources of Australia and the Rössing Uranium Mine in Namibia. The company is the third-largest producer of uranium in the world. According to Rio Tinto's website, the company institutes strict controls and contractual limitations on uranium exports, limiting uses to peaceful, non-explosive uses only. Such controls are intended to limit use of the company's uranium production to use as fuel for nuclear power plants only, and not for use in the production of nuclear weapons.

Rio Tinto Diamonds operates three diamond mines: the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia (100% ownership), the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada (60% ownership), and the Murowa diamond mine located in Zimbabwe (78% ownership). Together, these three mines produce 20% of the world's annual production of rough diamonds, making Rio Tinto the world's third-largest producer of mined diamonds.

The diamond business unit's most advanced exploration project is the Bunder Project in Madhya Pradesh, India, where Rio Tinto became the first foreign group to be granted a prospecting license there.

Rio Tinto Minerals is a diverse business group with mining and processing interest in borates, talc, salt, and gypsum. Rio Tinto Borax, with main operations in California and another mine in Argentine, supplies nearly half of the world's annual demand for refined borates, while the company's Luzenac Group subsidiary supplies 25% of global talc consumption. The Luzenac Group is also the only arm of the company with continuing active mining operations on the European continent: in addition to mines in North America and Australia, the company also operates a talc mine in southern France. The Minerals group is also majority owner of Dampier Salt, which produces over 9 million tonnes of salt and 1.5 millions of gypsum annually from its three facilities in northwest Australia.

Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT) groups together the company's iron and titanium production. Rio Tinto is the world's second-largest supplier of iron ore, producing over 153 million tonnes in calendar year 2008. The company's major iron ore mines and development projects are located in Australia, South America, Canada, India, and Guinea. Major subsidiaries held within RTIT include Hamersley Iron, majority interest in the Pilbara Iron mines, and the Iron Ore Company of Canada. The company also has smelting facilities for the production of iron and steel, limited in size in comparison to the massive amount of iron ore produced, at QIT-Fer et Titane in Canada and HISmelt in Australia.

Titanium dioxide is mined at three locations in Canada, South Africa, and Madagascar, and refined at QIT-Fer et Titane's Canadian facilities. Major subsidiaries include Richards Bay Minerals of South Africa and QIT Madagascar Minerals. In 2008, Rio Tinto produced 1.524 million tonnes of titanium dioxide, or approximately 27% of the estimated global production of 5.6 million tonnes.

Rio Tinto owns the Borax company that produces borax and is famous for the "20 Mule Team" trademark which it shares with the Dial Corporation.

Rio Tinto also produces bauxite, gold, titanium, lead, zinc, cobalt, nickel and uranium.

The company also has a technology group conducting research and development, notably including the Hismelt iron smelting process, and an exploration group.

During the Spanish civil war (1936-39) Rio Tinto sold pyrites on credit which allowed General Franco to trade with Germany and finance the war against Republican Spain. British investment in Spain was also a major consideration for British non-intervention in Spain.

On September 29, 2008, Rio Tinto announced a fifteen year naming rights deal to the new stadium of Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake. The stadium, named Rio Tinto Stadium, is located in Sandy, Utah and accommodates just over 20,000 people. The deal is rumoured to be worth around $2 million per year for Real Salt Lake.

Rio Tinto has also won an award for ethical behaviour, the Worldaware Award for Sustainable development. However, although this award was decided by an independent committee, it was, like some other WorldAware Awards, sponsored by another multinational corporation (in this case, the sponsor was Tate and Lyle). Rio Tinto has, in turn, sponsored its own WorldAware award, the Rio Tinto Award for Long-term Commitment, which was awarded to a variety of local and multinational players including in 1999 to Shell Pakistan.

Environmental, political, safety and labour rights concerns have been raised against Rio Tinto by both environmental groups and unions, in particular the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). The CFMEU ran a campaign against the company which tried to de-unionise its workforce after the introduction of the Howard Government's Workplace Relations Act 1996.

Another has been Rio Tinto's involvement in Papua New Guinea which triggered the Bougainville separatist crisis. The British anti-poverty charity War on Want has criticised Rio Tinto for its complicity in the serious human rights violations which have been occurred near the mines it operates in Indonesia, West Papua and Papua New Guinea.

While RTZ has put a lot of energy into cleaning up its tainted human-rights image from the aftermath of crises like the above, many critics feel the company has not substantially changed.

Claims of severe environmental damages related to Rio Tinto's engagement in the Grasberg mine in Indonesia has led The Government Pension Fund of Norway to exclude Rio Tinto from its investment portfolio. The fund, which is said to be the second largest pension fund in the world, sold shares in the company at a value of NOK 4,85 bilion (US$ 855 million) in order to avoid the risk of contributing to environmental damages caused by the company.

As of 23 March 2009.

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Rio Tinto Alcan

The logo of Alcan before the Rio Tinto takeover.

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. became the world's largest Aluminium company when Rio Tinto PLC's Canadian subsidiary, Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc., completed a friendly acquisition of Canadian company Alcan Inc. on November 15, 2007. On this date, Alcan Inc. was renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Inc..

Alcan Inc., at the time of the takeover, had been the world's third largest aluminium producer, behind its one time parent Alcoa (from which it split in 1928) and Rusal. The 2007 deal that created Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. followed a failed hostile takeover bid for Alcan by Alcoa.

Founded in 1902 as the Canadian unit of Alcoa, it was spun off in 1928.

From 1935 to 1945, the use of Aluminum in Alcan's name was being disputed by Alcoa, but a decision by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals ended the legality of the company's name.

Historically, Alcan was one of Canada's most important and powerful companies, and was listed as the sixth "largest" in 1975.

In 1982 the company acquired the British Aluminium Company, renaming the operation British Alcan. In 1999, Alcan made a failed attempt to make a three-way merger between it and Algroup (Alusuisse Lonza Group) of Switzerland and Pechiney of France. The proposed merger was blocked by the European Commission due to fears of anti-competition. After the deal fell through, Alcan acquired Algroup in 2000. Then in 2003, Alcan acquired Pechiney, completing the original three-way merger plan of 1999.

In July 2007, Hindalco Industries announced it is buying the stake of Alcan in the Utkal Alumina Project in Orissa, India marking an exit of Alcan from the project.

On January 20, 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan announced plans to close the Beauharnois smelter and reduce output from the Vaudreuil refinery; both facilities are in Quebec. It is part of a larger plan to reduce aluminum output by a further 6% (following a cut of 5% in late 2008), while cutting 1,100 jobs worldwide. The company will also sell its half-interest in the Chinese Alcan Ningxia joint venture.

Alcan owns, operates or has an interest in six bauxite mines and deposits, five smelter-grade alumina refineries and six specialty aluminas plants. Its Bauxite & Alumina group refines bauxite ore into smelter-grade alumina for Alcan’s Primary Metal group and external customers and specialty-grade alumina for third parties. It also owns an extensive transportation network, including trucking, rail, marine shipping and port facilities worldwide.

Alcan Primary Metal group includes Alcan’s aluminum smelting facilities and power generation installations, smelting technology and equipment sales, engineering services and aluminum trading operations, anode and cathode production facilities and aluminum fluoride plants.

Alcan owns or has an interest in 22 smelters in 11 countries and regions.

Alcan is based in Montreal, Quebec and had revenues of US$23.6 billion and 68,000 employees in 61 countries in 2007.

As of March 6, 2007, members of the board of directors of Alcan were: Roland Berger, L. Denis Desautels, Dick Evans, Yves Fortier, Jean-Paul Jacamon, William R. Loomis Jr., Yves Mansion, Christine Morin-Postel, H. Onno Ruding, Guy Saint-Pierre, Gerhard Schulmeyer, Paul M. Tellier, and Milton K. Wong.

It should be noted this was the last board of directors of Alcan prior to its renaming and becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC. Rio Tinto added several Alcan directors to its corporate board in London, including Dick Evans, who is also Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Alcan now.

Alcoa Inc. announced a hostile take over bid for its progeny on May 7th, 2007, in a deal worth $27 billion USD. The combined companies would have formed the largest aluminum producer in the world. On May 22, 2007, Alcan's board of directors unanimously recommended that shareholders reject Alcoa’s unsolicited offer to acquire Alcan. The board determined that the offer was inadequate in multiple respects and was contrary to the best interests of Alcan’s shareholders. On July 12, 2007, Alcan announced a friendly takeover deal with Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, worth $38.1 billion USD. Alcan's board of directors unanimously recommended the deal to shareholders. Alcoa withdrew its bid later in the day. On October 25, 2007, the merger was completed and Rio Tinto Alcan (the amalgamation of Alcan and Rio Tinto Aluminum) became the world's largest aluminum company. Rio Tinto Alcan is based in Montreal and retains Alcan's CEO, Dick Evans. However, while Rio Tinto won overwhelming shareholder support on October 25, 2007, the acquisition was not formally consummated until November 15, 2007, the date on which the corporate name changes and integration were finally completed.

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Source : Wikipedia