Global mining major Rio Tinto has pledged A$25 million in additional funding to support grassroots communities around the world with covid-19 preparedness and recovery efforts, bringing the company’s total voluntary global community contributions to around A$60 million for 2020.
Rio says the additional investment will predominantly focus on value-in-kind opportunities, some of which are well progressed and include:
- Supply of masks and protective equipment to support emergency and health professionals;
- Donations to national and local communities, hospitals and international agencies;
- Provision of ventilation units and temporary medical units in communities;
- Further investment in education and financial literacy programs as remote learning becomes the global norm for children;
- Manufacturing of hand sanitizer at certain Rio sites.
The company is actively contributing to covid-19-related best practice forums in health, safety and communities, as established by the International Council of Mining and Metals, it said in a statement.
Rio has already put strict protocols in place globally across its operations, in line with government guidance and directives and advice from leading medical experts. The majority of Rio’s employees work at operations and cannot work from home, so the company has implemented a number of controls to support them, such as travel restrictions, social distancing protocols, personal hygiene, on-call service and leadership on site.
CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques stated in a media release that the company’s focus is to maintain a “business as usual” approach with safeguards in place, but its first priority remains the health and safety of all employees and communities.
As an organization, Rio Tinto has been active with its humanitarian efforts. Earlier this year, the company donated A$750,000 to the Australian Red Cross to help with disaster relief and recovery efforts for people affected by Australia’s bushfire crisis.