Mine operator with site in Michigan accused of genocide
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rio Tinto, the company that owns the Kennecott nickel mine near Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, will have to face civil charges of genocide and war crimes in Papua New Guinea.
A divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court’s dismissal of claims against the mining giant for genocide and war crimes, while upholding the dismissal of claims for racial discrimination and crimes against humanity.
“The complaint alleges purposeful conduct undertaken by Rio Tinto with the intent to assist in the commission of violence, injury, and death, to the degree necessary to keep its mines open,” Judge Mary Schroeder wrote…
The 6-5 decision on Tuesday revives an 11-year-old lawsuit on behalf of about 10,000 current and former residents of the South Pacific island Bougainville, where a late 1980s uprising led to the use of military force and many deaths.
The nickel and copper sulfide mine being developed by the company in the U.P. has caused controversy because it sits on a site that is sacred to the Native Americans in the area.