Here is the statement of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition at this morning's Rio Tinto Annual General Meeting in London:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I have come to London again to speak to you and continued to be troubled by the activities of a Rio Tinto at Oak Flat, which is sacred and ecologically priceless public land.
First regarding the promises of Rio Tinto starting from the top, at last year's AGM, Sam Walsh, your CEO, promised to contact me about a visit the next time he was in Arizona. However, Mr. Walsh and his entourage was observed by our encampment at Oak Flat, flying into the #10 mine shaft site in a fancy helicopter a few weeks ago, sticking around to meet with mine supporters for a few minutes and then leaving. No contact, or notice of the visit.
Your company has finally succeeded in what you've been trying unsuccessfully to do 12 times over 10 years to pass the Oak Flat land exchange. To do so, you resorted to the worst of dirty and insulting tricks as your people in Congress attached the land exchange to a national defense bill in the middle of the night. There were less than 16 hours from when the land exchange was attached to the defense bill and when it came up for a deciding vote. One of your former employees, Senator Flake, made it clear that Rio Tinto had resorted to this dirty trick because it was not possible to pass this special interest legislation in the light of day on its own merits.
Actions speak louder than words, is this the way the Board of Directors wants your company to operate?
Your rules of engagement regarding the indigenous community is clear, Rio Tinto says it "seeks to operate in a manner that is consistent with the the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples" and "in particular, we strive to achieve the Free, Prior and Informed Consent or the effected indigenous communities." However, you have done the opposite at Oak Flat. 16 hours notice before a fatal vote is not FPIC! Working behind the scenes to try to scuttle the U.S. Forest Service's nomination of Oak Flat as a Traditional Cultural Property to be added to the List of National Historic Places, is not FPIC. Working behind the scenes on the San Carlos Reservation to influence Tribal governance and elections is not what your rules of engagement allow.
It is clear that under your rules, you cannot move forward on your plans to take title of a Native American sacred site on public land and mine.
Why do you think you have the right to destroy someone's religion? Are you so above all laws and conventions in your actions that you feel you have that right?
I would ask you to either to follow your own rules, or remove the veil and operate in the open as the international corporate thug your actions reveal.