Medal controversy targets Rio Tinto

In 2010 Gallon Environment Letter reported that the medals for the Vancouver Games contained less than 2% of recycled metal rather than the 100% that might be assumed by the reader of a newspaper headline such as “Winter Olympics 2010 Medals Made From Recycled Electronics”. But at least there was more than 1% recycled precious metal from end-of-life electronics in the medals.

This year, union groups including North America’s United Steelworkers are protesting the selection of Rio Tinto as supplier of metals for the London medals. The London Mining Network and other NGOs held a mock ceremony in Trafalgar Square to protest what they claim is the damaging behaviour of Rio Tinto around the world on its workers’ rights, local communities, and the environment. The only recycled metal in the medals appears to be some of the 2.5% zinc used only in the bronze medals.

Rio Tinto has currently locked out about 780 workers in Alma, Quebec, according to union information.

Information on the Games-related protest against Rio Tinto can be found at

Medal composition information is at

Information about the 2010 Vancouver medals is at and scroll down to RECYCLED CLAIM FOR OLYMPIC MEDALS

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