Rio Tinto aims to make a net positive impact on biodiversity (biological diversity) at our operating sites around the world. We intend to leave as much, if not more, natural variety in place after our operations have closed than existed before. No other company in any sector has, we believe, made the same commitment.
The prospect of an environmentally sensitive mining development at Simandou presents a challenge but also an opportunity to integrate poverty alleviation, rural development and biodiversity management. We have developed environmental programmes in parallel to our technical programmes.
Starting in 1997 Rio Tinto has conducted extensive biodiversity studies in Guinea. In 2002 and 2003 Rio Tinto embarked on a new round of biodiversity field work with experts from Conservation International. In 2008 Rio Tinto continued to advance extensive flora and fauna studies with the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens. More recently the results of these detailed studies have been superimposed on the projects mine plan in order to enable our engineers to take into account biodiversity considerations when designing the structure of the operations.
A unique world
From the outset of exploration, we realised that the Simandou project, including the prospective Pic de Fon and Oueleba areas, are located within terrain of biodiversity value.
We are conducting baseline studies and assessments to determine the current and future threats and opportunities in the region with internationally recognised NGOs: Conservation International, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, BirdLife International and Fauna & Flora International.
Two zones of classified forest located along the Simandou range have been seriously degraded by slash and burn agriculture and hunting practices. We are now managing this forest.