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Extraction Politics

Nicholas S. Paliewicz

Rio Tinto and the Corporate Persona

Nicholas S. Paliewicz

An investigation into one of the largest and most lucrative mineral mining companies in the world, Rio Tinto, Extraction Politics reveals how the company constructs a presence in the places it operates and shapes meanings and orientations toward the environment.

Taking readers on a “rhetorical pilgrimage” across the American Southwest, Nicholas Paliewicz shows how Rio Tinto creates adaptable corporate identities. From Ronald Reagan’s frontiersman advertisements for the Borax Mine in California to the pioneer Mormon persona at Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake City and the folksy, paternalistic perspective toward the San Carlos Apache at the proposed mine at Oak Flat, Arizona, the company appropriates local history to embed itself as a valued member of the public—without having to settle in those ecological communities and bear the costs of extraction. This does not occur without resistance, however. Paliewicz also shows how activists use these same tactics to expose Rio Tinto as an exploitative, colonialist polluter.

In an era of surging demand for dwindling supplies of minerals and metals, this book previews what the future of extractivism may look like. Extraction Politics will appeal to scholars and students of environmental communication and activist politics as well as general readers interested in the climate crisis.

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