Rio Tinto BC Works’ lead HSE specialists Michael Brown on a glacier along the powerline route from Kemano to Kitimat. The mining company says it has surpassed the $10 million mark for contributions to various COVID-19-related efforts across Canada and the U.S. (Photo supplied)

Rio Tinto hits $10 million in COVID-19 contributions across Canada, U.S.

The figure includes a $50,000 donation to the Kitimat Hospital Foundation

Rio Tinto recently hit a big milestone.

The mining company says it has surpassed the $10 million mark for contributions to various COVID-19-related efforts across Canada and the U.S.

In a release highlighting a number of initiatives taken across the two countries, Rio Tinto’s chief executive J-S Jacques said the company was happy to contribute to the various efforts, noting the importance of various communities together during these trying times.

“Rio Tinto is proud to play our part in supporting the outstanding and innovative efforts of our people, partners and wider communities in responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “Our investments are targeted at practical solutions like funding the food banks or counselling and support services that are helping frontline response workers and the communities around our operations.”

READ MORE: Rio Tinto donates to Kitimat hospital

In the case of Kitimat, where the company owns an aluminum smelting factory, this includes a $50,000 donation made to the Kitimat Hospital Foundation in late March to help protect health practitioners and ensure essential supplies are available.

In addition to the above, Rio Tinto’s director of media Relations Simon Letendre told the Kitimat Northern Sentinel the company’s procurement team has been working with their suppliers to find extra personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist both Terrace and Kitimat Hospital personnel, such as masks and coveralls.

The company also recently donated a $3000 in-kind donation to the Kitimat Food Bank to ensure families have access to food during the pandemic, as well as 25 half-mask 3M respirators and filters to the Kitimat RCMP detachment.

The mining company has done similar across the country, with its aluminum operations in Quebec donating 25,000 masks and other equipment worth $100,000 to the local health authority and provided $75,000 to the start-up Entreprise Prémont to help add a new production line to address the shortage of surgical masks in Canada. In the Northwest Territories, Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine is contributing $60,000 to five Indigenous communities for community-identified relief initiatives such as food hampers and on-the-land activities.

Rio Tinto is also producing hand sanitizer at a number of both Canadian and U.S. project sites to help supply an increased demand in response to the pandemic.

The company says financial support for these initiatives draws on a $25-million fund announced globally by Rio Tinto in response to the pandemic, as well as a refocusing of support from its existing Aluminium Canada Fund, Regional Economic Development Fund and site sponsorship and donation programs.

“We will also play our part in supporting and stimulating current and future economic activity through regional development initiatives that are vital for local jobs and businesses,” said Jacques. “Rio Tinto is committed to safely continuing to deliver products to our customers, spending money with our suppliers and investing in local initiatives, while supporting the efforts of governments to protect people and stimulate economic recovery.”

A number of further investments will be announced over the coming months, the mining company said.
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