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New Zealand threatens to sue Rio Tinto over toxic waste handling

Christian Fernsby |
New Zealand's environment minister has threatened Australian mining giant Rio Tinto with legal action over what he says is an outrageous failure to deal with toxic waste from an aluminium plant.

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Environment minister David Parker told Radio NZ “For them to try and escape some responsibility for cleaning up the mess that comes from their own smelter.

“It's outrageous.

“I can't reconcile it with their statements of corporate responsibility.”

Rio Tinto stores the waste from its Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in a disused paper mill in the South Island town, an hour away.

That waste is a class six hazardous substance, capable of generating poisonous ammonia gas when combined with water.

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