American Sands Energy Corp. announced on June 10th that William H. Champion, the former President and CEO of Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Copper mine in South Jordan, Utah (one of the largest open pit mines in the world) has joined the company’s board of directors. William is also an erstwhile champion of other Rio Tinto projects, such as coal mining in Australia and even diamond mining.
Rio Tinto, the multi-national mining monster, has left a global trail of environmental devastation, and has faced protests all over the world, such as the Apache tribal protests of the Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona, Mongolian herders protesting the Oyu Tolgoi copper & gold mine in the Gobi desert, and the controversies surrounding the Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia and the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea.
Locally, in Utah, while the Kennecott copper mine has for decades been the largest industry source of pollution, and has contributed greatly to the horrific air quality along the Wasatch Front, and is responsible for 30% of total air pollution within Salt Lake County, the state has continuously allowed Rio Tinto to green-wash itself. Rio Tinto donated $15 million towards the new Natural History Museum (a building literally covered in copper, and which sits with a perfect view of the toxic inversion that covers the Salt Lake valley every winter). The company is also one of the corporate sponsor of the “Green” Bike Share Program.
William “Call me Bill” Champion himself is not without controversy. In 2009, Rising Tide Australia disrupted a speech he was giving in support of the deceptively named Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, and has been criticised for promising to lower coal output, while at the same time planning for mine expansion. As extreme weather due to the runaway effects of human-caused climate change have caused global record breaking temperature spikes in Australia, Champion has gone on record as saying Rio Tinto is actually a “Green” corporation, yet the company is consistently being criticised, sued, and protested over environmental issues, and remains one the world’s largest industry polluters.
“I’m delighted to be joining the board of American Sands,” said William Champion in a press release.
That’s great, William, because we’re delighted to shut your newest project down.