Mining giants Rio Tinto (ASX, LSE, NYSE: RIO) and Alcoa (NYSE: AA) have agreed to cancel a mining contract and to create a national park instead.
The area in Western Australia which they were going to start a bauxite mine and build an aluminium refinery will now be incorporated into the Kimberley National Park.
Adding the 175,000-hectare Mitchell Plateau project site to the park will make it the largest in Australia, covering more than two million hectares across the Kimberley region.
Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh said its decision to conserve the area stemmed from the company’s long-standing commitment as a member of the West Australian community.
He added: “While the Mitchell Plateau bauxite resource is likely to hold value in the future, the State Agreement Act required the development of an alumina refinery which has always proven to be economically challenging.”
This is the latest in a line of conservation acts performed by large miners as they increasingly strive to show themselves as responsible toward the environment.