Community Relations

Rio Tinto’s aim for this project is to bring long-lasting benefits to the region, not only by cleaning up the area and preventing further contamination but also by supporting the local economy and giving back to the community.

Economic Contribution

During phase one, Rio Tinto employed more than 1,800 people from the region. Remediation work contributed nearly $240 million to the local economies of Chelan and Douglas counties. This included employee, contractor, and equipment provider wages, property, sales and use taxes, and local and state employment taxes. It also includes goods purchases from local businesses and revenue generated by individual salaries and expenditures within the area.

Holden Village

After the Holden Mine closed in 1957, the mine site was sold to the Lutheran Bible Institute, which transformed the former mining town into a spiritual retreat called Holden Village. Up to 100 people live at the site year-round and nearly 5,000 people visit each summer.

Because of the project’s remote location and proximity to the former mine town, access to Holden Village was essential. Rio Tinto needed access to Holden Village lands, services and facilities and Holden Village needed to ensure that the project had a limited impact on their community and provided long-term benefits. During construction, Holden Village had to suspend programming and couldn’t welcome visitors. Rather than vacating the site, the community chose to stay and get involved. Residents lived and worked near an active construction site and rented out accommodations to Rio Tinto contractors and employees. Rio Tinto did its best to minimize disruption to Holden Village, providing compensation for lost revenue and repairing and replacing buildings and infrastructure used during construction, including the footbridge over Railroad Creek and a nearby trail system. Today, the Rio Tinto Operations team lives in company-owned housing near the water treatment plant about one mile away from Holden Village. Rio Tinto and Holden Village continue to be good neighbors, sharing resources when needed and coordinating emergency response for the Railroad Creek Valley.

Bear Mountain Reserve

In 2021, Rio Tinto worked with the U.S. Forest Service and other project partners to purchase 2,100 acres of land on the backside of Bear Mountain Ranch, which was donated to the Chelan Douglas Land Trust for permanent conservation. The land was purchased to make up for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at the Holden Mine Cleanup site that had to be covered to accommodate construction.

Other Community Projects

During phase one construction, Rio Tinto hosted annual community meetings, project updates, and regular site tours with community leaders, students and residents. In keeping with its commitment to sustainability, Rio Tinto supported a number of other community projects, including funding the Chelan Library’s children’s reading area, Lake Chelan Hospital Foundation youth health programs, and the educational exhibits at the Lake Chelan Visitors Center. Most recently, Rio Tinto donated $10,000 to Chelan-area emergency management and hospital services to help in the fight against COVID-19.

About Rio Tinto

About Rio Tinto Rio Tinto is an international mining and metals company that operates in 35 countries around the world. The company’s primary purpose is to produce the materials that people use every day and that are essential to human progress, including aluminum, copper, minerals and iron ore.

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