Rio Tinto resorts to bribery to shape public opinion

Rio Tinto’ continues its practice of ‘buying’ public opinion by offering money and cooperation to local football teams, mountaineers, boxing clubs and farmers in the region. Most recently, it is said that the company has donated 20,000 euros to a hunting association.

“A hunting association in Loznica received 20,000 euros from Rio Tinto, which was confirmed to us by a member of it. In addition, they have offered money to the Mountaineering Association while the local boxing club is in negotiations with them for the purchase of a bus. We have information that they are negotiating with numerous football clubs and it is obvious that many are entering into “business” with the company for personal gain”, says Miroslav Mijatović, a representative of a company that fights against corruption in the province.

Marija Alimpić from the Protecting Jadar and Radjevina Association, spoke of the pressure local activists are exposed to: “Since our fight against the Jadar project began two years ago, representatives of the Rio Tinto Company have constantly exerted pressure in various ways, which is a typical practice in mining companies where there is resistance from the population”.

According to her, it all started with threats made to the locals that if they refused to sell their land voluntarily, sooner or later they would have to give it up, because the State will take the land away from them by expropriation, which is not only a false claim but also a crime. “Expropriation cannot be carried out in favour of projects by private companies, because they are not in the public interest. In the meantime, we have learned that Rio Tinto has been making donations to many local institutions, such as faculties, cultural centres and schools, for years,” Alimpić adds.

A few weeks ago, Rio Tinto offered a donation to the primary and secondary schools in Krupanj. Marijana Petković, from the We Will not Give Jadar Away initiative, says that the representatives of Rio Tinto first offered vouchers to the residents of Gornji Nedeljice to be spent on agricultural purchases, in an effort to convince local farmers to sell them their land. “Farmers can cash these vouchers in agricultural pharmacies where they can purchase weed killers, mowers and seed and similar. This refutes logic because what will they sow if they sell their land?!“ Petković wonders.

She says that some local farmers have given their land to Rio Tinto for the company to clean them of ragweed. Rio Tinto has also offered certain house owners to replace their doors and windows for free.  

“Lately they have been lobbying residents by calling them on the phone, trying to ‘help’ them by buying them firewood for winter,“ Petković warns.

Nobody knows how many people have accepted Rio Tinto’s offers, but Petković knows for a fact that some people have taken Rio Tinto’s vouchers.

(Nova, 04.11.2021)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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