Rio Tinto: Rössing Uranium Mine, Namibia

Located near the town of Arandis in the Namib desert, the Rio Tinto’s (69% subsidiary) Rössing Uranium mine is one of the the world’s largest and longest-running uranium mines in the world. Several NGOs, Led by LaRRI (the Labour Resource and Research Institute) SOMO (The Center for Research on Multinational Corporations), Earthlife Namibia, and CRIIRAD (the Commission for Independent Research and Information about RADiation), conducted research on the mine’s (Namibia’s largest) effects on the local environment, labor, and human rights. Their preliminary findings concluded that workers and residents from surrounding communities experienced health problems related to their exposure to radioactive waste via inhalation of dust and radon gas produced by the mine. Furthermore, Rössing’s health and safety protocols were shown to be outdated and inadequate.[1] More recent measures indicated elevated levels of uranium in groundwater, soil, and sediment.[2]

[1] Hilma Shindondola-Mote (2009): “Uranium Mining in Namibia. The mystery behind ‘low level radiation’”, LaRRI Study: http://somo.nl/publications-en/Publication_3061 (accessed 09.09.2013).

[2] CRIIRAD (2012): Preliminary results of CRIIRAD radiation monitoring near uranium mines in Namibia, 11 April: www.criirad.org/actualites/dossier2012/namibie/CRIIRAD-namibia-press.pdf (accessed 09.09.2013).

Affected topics
  • Environmental and Climate protection
  • Human and Labour Rights
Affected norms and standards Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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