Our commitment sets 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, 10-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 teams hauled more than 15 million pounds of borax.
No team member or mule was ever lost.
During those early days, our founders developed a deep respect for Death Valley’s unique beauty and geological makeup. Today, 145 years later, Rio Tinto Borates 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 and energy use 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.