4 May 2006

Environmental campaigners stymied in attempts to quiz mining giant, Rio Tinto

7:29 pm on 4 May 2006

An Australian mining advocacy group says the chairman at today's Rio Tinto Annual General meeting in Melbourne prevented it from asking questions over the company's environmental record in its Papua mine.

The Mineral Policy Institute joined with Papuan independence activists and Rio Tinto shareholders to mount a protest at the AGM today.

Rio Tinto is in a joint venture with Freeport McMoran which runs the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia's Papua province.

MPI executive director, Techa Beaumont, says they had no opportunity to formally put questions about the company's woeful environmental record.

"We've been disappointed in that the chairman prevented us from asking questions or refused to answer questions about when they would comply with Indonesian environment laws which the Indonesian minister came out earlier this year and said they were breaching. So we think it is pretty unacceptable that they failed to debate that issue."

Techa Beaumont