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London Olympic sponsor to provide metal for medals

By Melissa Gray, CNN
  • Rio Tinto will provide the gold, silver, and copper for the medals
  • The metal will come from mines in Utah and Mongolia
  • Rio Tinto also provided the metal for the 2002 Olympic medals

(CNN) -- The latest sponsor announced for the London 2012 Olympic Games is the mining group Rio Tinto, which will provide the metal for all 4,700 medals, organizers announced Wednesday.

London-based Rio Tinto is the 40th domestic sponsor announced for the Games. It will provide all the gold, silver, and copper to produce the medals for the Olympics and Paralympics next year, London 2012 said.

The metal will come from opposite sides of the globe -- from Rio Tinto's Kennecott Utah Copper mine near Salt Lake City and from the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia, the company said.

More than 99% of the metal will come from Kennecott, which has produced more copper than any other mine in history and also produces gold and silver, Rio Tinto said.

Oyu Tolgoi, in Mongolia's South Gobi Desert, is expected to be a top copper and gold producer when it reaches full production in 2018, the company said.

Rio Tinto provided the metal for Olympic medals once before, at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"All of us at Rio Tinto are excited to have the special job once again of digging the ore that will become treasured medals for the world's elite athletes," said Tom Albanese, the company's chief executive. "We are right behind London 2012's commitment to delivering sustainable Games, which aligns with Rio Tinto's passionate commitment to sustainable development wherever we operate around the world."

The London Olympic Games are scheduled to take place between July 27 and August 12, 2012, and will be followed by the Paralympic Games, scheduled for August 29 to September 9.