Rio Tinto has entered into formal, binding, commercial agreements with host Indigenous communities at most of our operations in Australia. These community agreements ensure that host communities will benefit from our presence and help to build sustainable relationships with the people who are most immediately affected by our operations.
These binding contracts or "participation agreements" ensure that host communities share the economic opportunities brought by mining and have a say about decisions in our operations that affect their interests. All our agreements are underpinned by recognition and respect of mutual interests.
Our participation agreements reconcile the respective interest of the parties and formalise everything that each party expects from the other, including how we will work together in an ongoing relationship; traditional owners' involvement in land and environmental management; cultural heritage management and protection; and how the operation will create local and regional economic benefits. Regional economic benefits typically include employment, training, and business opportunities, as well as revenue sharing.
These agreements are developed through extensive engagement between all the parties, often taking years to conclude. We apply a participatory process so that local community members understand our operations and what is proposed in the agreement. We also ensure that the groups with whom we enter into agreements have access to independent advice and expertise in negotiating the agreements.
We have successfully reached around 20 community agreements with traditional land owners across Australia. These agreements provide a strong foundation for our long term relationships with these communities and have also provided business certainty for our operations.
Participation agreements with Traditional Owners in the Pilbara
- In 2011 Rio Tinto finalised participation agreements with five indigenous groups across the Pilbara region, securing the current and future operations of Rio Tinto's iron ore business while ensuring the full engagement of the region's traditional owners.
Argyle Participation Agreement
- In 2001, Argyle committed to renew its relationship with local Aboriginal communities and began a comprehensive process of engagement with Traditional Owners, leading to a new agreement.