Jan 22, 2011 - 7 years ago
By Supply Post
Rio Tinto will donate $1 million to assist flood victims following the devastating Christmas-New Year floods in Queensland.
Rio Tinto will contribute $700,000 to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal and $300,000 directly to Emerald charities and organisations.
The floods have been described as the worst in Queensland's recorded history, triggered by monsoonal rains after months of significant rainfall across the State. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in the central Queensland towns of Emerald, Condamine, Theodore and the regional town of Rockhampton.
Rio Tinto Energy chief executive Doug Ritchie said: "We are committed to supporting our local communities."
"In making this $1 million donation we want to give a hand to those who have been evacuated from their homes or who have had their homes damaged in flood-affected areas of Queensland," Mr Ritchie said.
"These are difficult times for many Queenslanders, especially occurring around Christmas and New Year. Our employees are part of the communities around our operations so we're pleased to be able to provide some direct support into Emerald. We note many other companies have pledged their financial support to flood victims, and hope that our donation will continue to encourage others to dig deep and assist during this time of need."
On 29 December Rio Tinto declared force majeure on sales contracts at all four of its coal mines in Queensland because of the flood and rain impact.
In addition to the financial assistance, workers from Rio Tinto's Kestrel coal mine near Emerald are continuing to help community efforts in the flood-stricken area.
The Kestrel Mine ceased operating on 28 December after road and rail access were cut by floodwaters. Immediately afterwards many of its employees began helping out in their local flood-affected community.
Kestrel Mine General Manager Operations John Coughlan said: "In the days leading up to the Nogoa River peaking on 31 December and causing widespread flooding and water inundation throughout Emerald, our employees have been providing support to people in and around town, helping to sandbag homes and assisting people in moving.
"We flew in 10,000 sandbags and additional rolls of black plastic last week when Emerald ran out of supplies, and our employees worked throughout Thursday night continuing to sandbag and seal buildings, including the Avalon nursing home where 100 aged people live and could not be moved.
"We have been providing direct assistance to the State Emergency Service (SES) in areas where they have been overwhelmed by the demand for help, and we will continue to do this during the clean-up in the days and weeks ahead."
Just weeks before the floods, Rio Tinto Coal Australia made a $10,000 Christmas donation to the SES in Queensland in lieu of mailing Christmas cards to stakeholders. The SES was selected as a recipient ahead of wet weather forecasts for summer, and the SES chose to put the donation towards the purchase of a new self-contained forward command communications trailer to help them communicate by mobile phone, radio or satellite phone in emergencies.