Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) has won the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award for its contributions to the Abandoned Site Rehabilitation Partnership: Nitassinan Cleanup project. This collaborative initiative, undertaken in partnership with the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (FNQLSDI), focuses on the remediation of legacy dumpsites within Nitassinan, the ancestral territory of Innu Nation of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam, which were not the result of IOC activities, with the goal of restoring the land to its original state.

FNQLSDI environmental specialists, alongside members of the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam community, are actively engaged in dismantling decommissioned structures and clearing abandoned sites. Leveraging rail cars and the extensive QNS&L Railway spanning 418 kilometers to Sept-Îles, the project facilitates the safe and efficient removal and relocation of materials, showcasing IOC’s commitment to environmental care and community collaboration by utilizing its resources to support sustainable development initiatives outside its core operations.

IOC President and Chief Executive Officer Mike McCann said: "We are honoured to receive this award, which underscores our unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility and collaborative community engagement. Our collaboration with FNQLSDI and the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam community demonstrates our dedication to reclaiming land responsibly while nurturing lasting relationships and creating real impact."

FNQLSDI General Director Alain Bédard said: "We are pleased that this initiative can serve as an inspiration in terms of environmental responsibility and collaboration with First Nations. This project could not have had the impacts it did without the participation of IOC and the members of the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam community. We hope that the success of this project will serve as an example to others."

This initiative enhances IOC’s understanding of Innu land use and traditional knowledge while cultivating connections and deepening relationships with diverse communities. Building robust collaborative relationships beyond IOC's usual operations is vital for fostering trust and supporting local communities, a principle Rio Tinto advocates for across the mining industry.