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2012 Sponsorship: sustainable blood money

Rio Tinto Zinc is to sponsor the Australian 2012 Olympics team. The company described its values as 'accountability, respect, teamwork and integrity (which) are in tune with those of the Australian Olympic team.'

An alternative view: 'In every continent where Rio Tinto operates the story is the same: land taken from indigenous people without compensation; workers prevented from freely organising in trade unions; destruction of the environment; and cosy relations with politicians, government officials and dictators.'

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said Australia's Olympic athletes were 'incredibly grateful' for the money.

Recently when it was announced that RTZ was to provide the metal for London 2012 medals from its Utah mine Dr Brian Moench, of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said: 'The business model of Rio Tinto is the routine exploitation of local people to maximise profits.' He blamed the company for causing up to 200 premature deaths a year. 'The research shows the impact of air pollution on disrupting the integrity of the embryo in pregnant women and congenital deformities. Air pollution is responsible for between 100 and 200 premature deaths every year in Salt Lake City.'

Chris Townsend, Locog's commercial director, said he hoped the medals would be 'spectacular and sustainable'.

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