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Green aluminum and bauxite extraction: Rio Tinto reacts to the Enquête report

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar23,2024

Green aluminum and bauxite mining: Rio Tinto reacts to investigative report

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Rio Tinto's Vaudreuil refinery in Jonquière.

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Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from a written text.

The multinational Rio Tinto says it does not recognize itself in certain aspects of the portrait that was made of the company during the Enquête report which traced its entire production chain, from the extraction of bauxite in Brazil to its factories in Saguenay.

This is what the CEO of Rio Tinto Aluminum, Jérôme Pécresse, said the day after the broadcast of the report on Radio-Canada, Thursday.

We do not recognize ourselves in the Inquiry's allegations to the effect that we are seeking to cover up incidents, to obstruct the work of investigators or are waiting to be fined to make corrections. These are not our values ​​and this is not how we behave, he said in an open letter. This was transmitted to the media, although just as during the preparation of the Enquête report, Rio Tinto refused to grant interviews.

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Jérôme Pécresse is the CEO of Rio Tinto Aluminum.

The business manager was thus reacting to the assertions of a whistleblower to the effect that spills at Saguenay facilities were not always reported to the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP).

If an environmental incident occurs, it is transparently reported to the authorities, investigated and improvements made. If an employee witnesses behavior that goes against our values, we encourage them to report it without delay, continued Jérôme Pécresse.

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Even if he refutes several findings in the Radio-Canada report, Jérôme Pécresse recognizes that concerns remain about bauxite mining in Brazil, and we must deal with the legacy of past practices.

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The transport of bauxite in Brazil is incessant.

He says he ensures that industry best practices are applied.

Jérôme Pécresse replaced Ivan Vella as head of the aluminum division in September 2023.

One aspect of the report also concerns the aspect of greenwashing, namely that the green side of aluminum production is put forward to the detriment of real environmental impacts.

The Quebec Environmental Law Center (CQDE) mentions that, in general, the use of the generic word green is almost always misleading.

Marc Bishai, lawyer at CQDE, recognizes that questions need to be asked about Rio Tinto's strategy.

Using a generic qualifier like "green" it's almost always misleading. In fact, there is no definition in the laws at the moment of what a green product means, so the average person is justified in thinking that it means something like “good for the environment”. “environment”, that this would mean that if we produce more and consume more, the environment will do better and better. There aren't many products that respond to that, he explained in an interview with Téléjournal Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

With information from Claude Bouchard

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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