Rio Tinto is, without qualification, one of the most evil corporations in the world. It has colluded with repressive regimes going back to Franco’s use of troops to suppress strikes in Rio Tinto’s Spanish mines in the 1930s.
The company is the target of a lawsuit for crimes against humanity for using chemical defoliants, in a manner reminiscent of the US in Vietnam, to destroy the rain forest on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, in the process of developing its Panguna copper and gold mining operation. It dumped billions of tons of toxic mine waste, polluting waters over a radius of dozens of miles and causing severe health problems to many. And when the local population rose up to forcibly close the mines, Rio Tinto supplied the government with vehicles and helicopters to transport troops to suppress the uprising; the ensuing ten-year military blockade resulted in 10,000 deaths. It followed the same pattern of forcible eviction, large-scale environmental devastation and pollution, and collusion with state military authorities to suppress popular uprisings in West Papua, Indonesia and Madagascar.
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