Sorry to sound like a broken record – but are you seriously telling me THIS corporation will spend $250m to clean up Tiwai Point?

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Folks I don’t want to go on and on and on about this, but I think we should be seriously considering about some way to seize Rio Tinto assets now before they bugger off because I just don’t believe they are going to stump up with the $250m needed to decontaminate Tiwai Point when they leave next year.

Think about it.

If a multi-billion dollar Corporation is walking away because of a $46m loss last year…

…why the fuck would they spend $250million cleaning up their toxic pollution?

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Remember the current situation whereby Rio Tinto ‘contracted’ out clean up obligations to a  company that then went  belly up leaving all the toxic pollution behind…

Tiwai Point smelter closure: Mataura locals unnerved on waste removal

The closure of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has raised concerns over what it will mean for the thousands of tonnes of potentially toxic waste stored in the small Southland town of Mataura.

So-called ouvea premix in the town’s papermill came under threat from floodwaters in February and the uncertainty about its future is worrying those who live there.

The community did not have a lot of faith in Rio Tinto after the way in which the material ended up in the town and had remained since.

Taha Asia Pacific was contracted by the smelter to process its waste in 2011, but that company moved the ouvea premix into the papermill under the cover of night and without consent.

…that cost to Rio Tinto was $4m.

If they are going to renege and play games over waste worth $4m, what the living Christ are they going to do for a bill of $250million?

Look, Rio Tinto have an appalling track record around the world of screwing over the local populations they pollute, look at how they destroyed a 46 000 year old Aboriginal cave and obscenely shrugged…

Leaked tape reveals Rio Tinto does not regret destroying 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelter to expand mine

Rio Tinto has repeated its apology to traditional owners for the destruction of a rock shelter that had been occupied for more than 46,000 years, after its iron ore chief executive, Chris Salisbury, reportedly told a staff meeting that the apology was for any distress caused, not an admission the company had done wrong.

According to the Australian Financial Review, which says it heard a recording of a Rio Tinto staff meeting held last Wednesday, Salisbury described the events leading up to the detonation of the site, then said: “That’s why we haven’t apologised for the event itself, per se, but apologised for the distress the event caused.”

He also reassured staff the company maintained the backing of “political leaders of both sides” (despite the federal Labor party forming a Senate inquiry), saying he had “engaged with lots and lots of stakeholders and … quietly, there is still support for us out there”.

…if you are an enormous evil corporation who is closing a smelter because of a $46m loss, who manipulates and drags their heels over a $4m clean up and who doesn’t care about committing a cultural war crime against humanity, why the hell do any of you think they’ll pay us quarter of a billion to clean up their toxic legacy at Tiwai?

Come on folks, let’s get the $250m up front thanks, and if that means seizing assets, let’s start seizing.

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Agree 100%. In the same way Tamarind Malaysia walked away from Taranaki, leaving creditors owed hundreds of millions and an unplugged well. Place the local company that has the nominal responsibility into receivership and don’t look back. Even another $30 million subsidy to keep 2000 people employed for several years is actually a good spend compared to the economic and social cost of a massive increase in unemployment in Southland.

  2. Well now Martyn you have champion in Winston, Shane and NZF. Now that may mean a bit of “humble pie” but on Tiwai they are right on the button

  3. All vert true, Martyn.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to seizing assets there is a ‘slight; problem. The corporation doesn’t have any assets worth seizing. The land, buildings and equipment are liabilities, especially since they are heavily contaminated. Even if the world were not going bust, the equipment would have little value on the world market. And you can’t shift land or buildings.

    methinks attempts to seize intangible assets would result in lengthy litigation which would gobble up more that the value in lawyers fees.

    One has only to examine the record of oil companies, mining companies, chemical manufacturers etc. to see that the name of the game is to loot and pollute and poison, and then walk away -Bhopal chemical explosion, Hardy’s asbestos, Exxon Mobil Valdez oil spill, BP Deep Water Horizon, Shell in Nigeria and all that.

    • All very true, Martyn.

      Unfortunately, when it comes to seizing assets there is a ‘slight’ problem. The corporation doesn’t have any assets worth seizing. The land, buildings and equipment are liabilities, especially since they are heavily contaminated. Even if the world were not going bust, the equipment would have little value on the world market. And you can’t shift land or buildings.

      Methinks attempts to seize intangible assets would result in lengthy litigation which would gobble up more that the value in lawyers fees.

      One has only to examine the record of oil companies, mining companies, chemical manufacturers etc. to see that the name of the game is to loot and pollute and poison, and then walk away -Bhopal chemical explosion, Hardy’s asbestos, Exxon Mobil Valdez oil spill, BP Deep Water Horizon, Shell in Nigeria and all that.

      In the case of Bhopal, the company responsible was taken over by another, which denied responsibility. Decades later no significant pay-out has been made to the surviving victims (many died) or their families.

      In the case of the Valdez oil spill (Alaska) decades later no significant pay-out was made, and remnants of the contamination remain.

      In the case of Deep Water Horizon the drilling should never have been attempted; it was done in a hurry; the response to the eruption of hydrocarbons into the waters of the Caribbean was inadequate; remnants of the contamination remain.

      In the case of Shell in Nigeria, large swathes of the land and sea have been rendered so toxic traditional activities of the local tribes [of growing crops and catching fish] are impossible. When a local leader became too troublesome, Shell arranged to have him murdered by ‘the authorities’.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Saro-Wiwa

      (My previous comment was done in a great hurry. There is now so little time to prepare for what is coming…not Christmas).

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