Sustainable Development


Our History & Our Future Set Us Apart

Our founders were pioneers exploring the resources of the American West. In 1881, they discovered borates in Death Valley, one of the driest and hottest places on Earth.

From 1883 to 1889, our famous 20 Mule Teams pulled massive wagons hauling borax from Death Valley to the railhead near Mojave, a grueling 165 mile, ten-day trip through high temperatures, deep sands and steep grades.

Working in these unforgiving conditions required careful consideration of water, resources and people. In six years, the team hauled more than 15 million pounds of borax. No team member or mule was ever lost.
Our pioneer founders also developed a deep respect for Death Valley’s unique beauty and geological makeup, inspiring company leaders to work with Congress to establish the National Park Service, which celebrates its Centennial in 2016. Donated land from U.S. Borax officially became Death Valley National Park in 1994.

Today, 145 years later, Rio Tinto Minerals remains committed to the environmental preservation and
safety practices that are the foundation of our operating principles. Since 2001, our Sustainable Development program has guided how we measure, improve and report on social, environmental and economic performance.
At our current industrial-scale operations in Boron, we continually look for ways to reduce water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, while protecting the health and well-being of our employees. California’s extreme drought conditions have accelerated our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while delivering an important rare mineral that’s essential for modern living.

Our ongoing efforts strongly contribute to our vision “To be the sector leading global industrial minerals supplier that creates better quality of life and sustainable value through our product offerings.”

To find out more, visit Rio Tinto at:


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