In a bid to support community efforts battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Rio Tinto is investing $10mn in a range of grassroots initiatives and projects across the United States and Canada.
The projects supported range from delivering critical supplies to providing counseling and support services to frontline workers, their families and the surrounding communities. The company is also supporting projects that will maintain and create regional economic development, which is essential to communities around the U.S. and Canada as long-term prosperity becomes the focus.
Rio Tinto has already donated approximately C$100,000 worth of medical equipment, such as masks, to a Quebec-based local health authority, where the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean aluminium operation that Rio Tinto owns is operated. A further C$75,000 was donated to Enterprise Prémont in order to support the surgical mask production line being added.
Additional funds and donations have been made to four local food banks in Havre-St-Pierre and Sorel-Tracy. Rio Tinto has used its manufacturing capabilities to produce bottles of hand sanitiser in addition to this.
Further investments will continue to be made over the next six months, after additional donations and investments have been made in Arizona, Utah, and California. 75,000 meals and 50,000 cans of water have been sent to tribes on the Fort Apache Reservation, and $10,000 has been donated to offer learning support and food assistance to families near the Wilmington facility at the Port of Los Angeles.
Rio Tinto is using its global $25mn global fund, announced last week, to support this new initiative. In addition to this, refocused support from the existing Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund, Regional Economic Development Fund and site sponsorship and donation programs will all aid the effort against the coronavirus.
Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive, J-S Jacques, said: “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. 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.
“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. 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.”