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Rio Tinto Marks 70 years in Kitimat with Haisla totem unveiling

Haisla artist Paul Windsor incorporates Clan Crests of Beaver and Eagle
Haisla artist Paul Windsor unveils a special commemorative totem commissioned by Rio Tinto to celebrate the smelter's 70th anniversary on June 1 at the Kitimat site. From left to right: Haisla Nation Hereditary Chief Harvey Grant, Haisla Nation Hereditary Chief Jacob Duncan, Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, Haisla artist Paul Windsor, BC Works maintenance employee Cory Eisenberger, BC Works maintenance supervisor and planner Leonard Nunes, and BC Works general manager Simon Pascoe.

Rio Tinto celebrated its 70th anniversary on 1 June at the Kitimat smelter site, hosting an event attended by more than 1,800 people, including employees and retirees spanning four generations.

Coinciding with the start of National Indigenous History Month, the celebration included the unveiling of a commemorative aluminium totem by Haisla artist Paul Windsor. The totem features traditional Haisla Clan Crests, the Beaver at the base and the Eagle at the apex, with an Elder represented in the centre. The company said the totem represents the connection between Rio Tinto’s history and its relationships with Indigenous peoples.

"As future generations are upon us, we remain dedicated to the production of high-quality, responsible low-carbon aluminium, while continuing to build authentic relationships with communities, the union, and business partners, all of which play a significant role in the sustainability of our smelter,” Rio Tinto BC Works General Manager Simon Pascoe said.

The event featured bus tours of the smelter operations, live music, kiosks, displays, inflatable games, and a photobooth. Attendees were also informed about Rio Tinto's low-carbon aluminium production process.

About the Author: Quinn Bender

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