Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Rio Tinto CEO to leave over destruction of Indigenous sites
AP

Rio Tinto CEO to leave over destruction of Indigenous sites

  • Updated
  • 0

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques will leave the Anglo-Australian mining giant by March over the destruction of Australian Indigenous sacred sites to access iron ore, the company said on Friday.

“Significant stakeholders have expressed concerns about executive accountability for the failings identified,” Rio Tinto said in a statement.

By mutual agreement, Jacques will step down once a replacement has been appointed or on March 31, whichever happens sooner, the statement said.

Executives Chris Salisbury and Simone Niven will leave the company on Dec. 31.

Rio Tinto announced last month that Jacques would lose $3.5 million in bonuses and Salisbury and Niven around $700,000 each over the destruction in May of two rock shelters in Juukan George in Western Australia state that had been inhabited for 46,000 years.

Rio Tinto concluded in an internal review last month that there was “no single root cause or error that directly resulted in the destruction of the rock shelters.”

But internal documents revealed last week that Rio Tinto had engaged a law firm in case the traditional owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, applied for a court injunction to save the rock shelters

The Western Australian government has promised to update Indigenous heritage laws that allowed Rio Tinto to legally destroy the sacred sites.

Jamie Lowe, chief executive of the National Native Title Council, which represents Australia's traditional owners of the land, said he had called on Rio Tinto to take more action than cutting executive bonuses.

Lowe welcomed the decision to replace the three executives.

“There needs to be a consistent theme of them showing that they are conscious of Aboriginal cultural heritage and its protection,” Lowe said of mining companies.

The rock shelters' traditional owners had no comment to make on the Rio Tinto leadership changes, Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corp. said.

“We will continue to work with Rio Tinto in the aftermath of the Juukan Gorge disaster. Our focus continues to rest heavily on preserving Aboriginal heritage and advocating for wide-ranging changes to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again," the corporation said in a statement.

“We cannot and will not allow this type of devastation to occur ever again,” the statement added.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank, agreed to pay a 1.3 billion Australian dollar ($919 million) fine for breaches of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws, the largest ever civil penalty in Australia, a financial crime regulator said on Thursday.

  • Updated

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shares in electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup Nikola plunged on Monday after the company's founder resigned amid allegations of fraud - just two weeks after signing a $2 billion partnership with General Motors.

  • Updated

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: All remaining virus restrictions will be lifted across much of New Zealand from late Monday with the exception of the largest city, Auckland, which will continue to have some restrictions for at least another 16 days. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement Monday after meeting with top lawmakers. The nation of 5 million re-imposed some restrictions last month after an Auckland outbreak which now appears to be under control. Under the plan, maximum gathering sizes in Auckland will be increased from 10 to 100 on Wednesday and then caps removed two weeks after that. “Auckland needs more time,” Ardern told reporters in the city. “Whilst we have reasonable confidence we are on the right track, there is still a need in Auckland for that cautious approach.” Health authorities reported no new cases on Monday. The number of active cases is 62, with 33 from community spread and 29 among quarantined returning travelers.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News