(Bloomberg) -- Mining company Rio Tinto has lost a "highly radioactive" capsule somewhere along a 1,400 kilometer (870 mile) highway through the Western Australian desert.
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"We are taking this incident very seriously. We recognise this is clearly very concerning and are sorry for the alarm it has caused," Rio Tinto head of iron ore Simon Trott said in a statement to the Financial Times on Sunday.
The company and Australia's government are attempting to find the widget which is between 6-8mm in length and contains a small amount of the radioactive isotope caesium-137. While the news originally broke on Friday, Rio Tinto's involvement wasn't public until today.
Rio Tinto, which is listed in Sydney and London, has been rebuilding its reputation after destroying a site of sacred significance to indigenous Australians in 2020 as part of an iron ore mine expansion.
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