Rio Tinto Sued by Physicians for Air Pollution

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on January 20th, 2012 2:35pm

Rio Tinto's Bingham Canyon open pit copper mine, just to the west of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a large contributor to Salt Lake City's air pollution (and water pollution). Forbes Magazine rates Salt Lake City's air quality as the ninth most toxic city in the USA. Dr. Moench and environmental groups in Salt Lake City have now launched a law suit against RTK (Rio Tinto/Kennekott) for violating the Clean Air Act in Utah. 

Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, authors an article, posted this morning by the web site In his article Dr. Moench states:

"This mine is the world’s largest man made excavation and has created the largest mining related water pollution problem in the world. The mine is located on the western doorstep of Salt Lake City, home to well over one million people. There is no comparable juxtaposition of an enormous mining operation this close to such a large urban center. RTK's mine and smelter operations account for 30% of the particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere over Salt Lake County, making it by far the largest source of industrial pollution in the urban areas of Utah. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment estimates that the mortality, health and environmental costs to the community from RTK pollution is between $2 billion and $4 billion, several times the value of the wages and taxes that they pay. Nonetheless, a massive PR budget allows RTK to heavily advertise themselves as “job providers”, and take virtually no responsibility for the various environmental and health consequences of their operations."

Residents of Kamloops should take note of the fact that the Bingham Mine is about 6  kilometres away from the nearest residences. The proposed Ajax mine is only 1 kilometre away from the nearest residences. This raises the critical question, which KGHM Ajax has yet to answer, how  is KGHM Ajax is going to be able to control fugitive dust from being blown over Kamloops by the prevailing southwest wind? RTK doesn't seem to be able to do it.


Kathy on 2012-01-22 18:48:20

Thank you for a Blog that has scientific basis to it. Something I can sink my teeth into and do my own research on the topics you have brought up.

Trevor Owen on 2012-01-26 00:20:55

Excellent reference and should make us very concerned about the health of our community.

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