Rio Tinto CEO resigned after illuminating Australian indigenous site

Rio Tinto building in Brisbane.

Rio Tinto building in Brisbane.
Photo: William West / AFP (Getty Images)

Three mining company officials explode 46,000-year-old I amIndigenous Australian heritage site to expand an iron ore mine – and later insisted that it Did nothing wrongLeaving the company.

Rio Tinto destroyed the Juken 1 and Juken 2 rock shelters in the Palabara region of Western Australia In may 2020, Destroying a site of major cultural importance for Putu Kunti Kurama and Pinikura Peepal (PKKP). Technically, the firm did so in full compliance with the law, as it obtained consent from a minister for years under Section 18 of Australia. Tribal heritage act. In 2014 Rio Tinto financed a final archaeological expedition to extract objects of importance from rock shelters, changing the findings The Sydney Morning Herald reported “Importance surpassed all expectations” such as grinding and beating stones, 28,000-year-Old bone tools, and parts of 4,000-year-The old belt is made of human hair.

Archaeologists in the expedition recommend that the sites Juken 1 and Juken 2 are subject to further exploration. Instead, Rio Tinto began with the explosion, claiming at the last minute that the charges could not be safely dropped. The company then Issued a statement Claiming to have worked “creatively with the people of PKKP on the category of heritage matters” and “protecting places of cultural importance for the group”. It apologized in June, but iron ore business chief Chris Salisbury Explained later The company did not really regret flying this site, just “upset because of the incident”.

Now in Rio Tinto, According to cnn, CEO Jean-Sebastian Jacques, Salisbury and Corporate Relations Group executive Simon Nivens. Jax will remain until his successor is selected or at the end of March. Salisbury is moving immediately, and both he and Nivens will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. Although officers will collectively be penalized for approximately $ 5 million in bonuses, they will collect an exit payment, including long-term bonuses.

Rio Tinto President Simon Thompson told CNN in a statement, “wThis was wrong with Jucan. We are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site with such extraordinary archaeological and cultural significance will never occur again in the Rio Tint operation. “

Jamie Lowe, CEO of the National Native Title Council, representing I.Ndigenous groups in Australia tweeted that while the NTTC welcomes the “expulsion of officials”, “this is not the end.”

“We will never allow this type of catastrophe to happen again.” PKKP tribal corporation told new York Times in a statement.

Hesta, a superannuation fund holding a stake in Rio Tinto, first called for a public inquiry and expelled the authoritiesquate.

“Mining companies that fail to negotiate fairly and in good faith with traditional owners expose the company to reputational and legal risks,” said the fund. according to this Guardian. “These risks increase over the long term when these agreements occur. Without an independent review, we cannot adequately assess these risks and understand how they may affect value. We have lost confidence that the company can do this on its own. “

Alan Fales, an economist and lawyer consulted by Husta, told the Guardian, “TThere are potentially irresponsible conduct issues at both legal and ethical levels. They need to be investigated independently. “

According to the review conducted by the paper, mining companies have obtained ministerial permission to destroy more than 100 ancient indigenous sites in Western Australia alone. It is far from Rio Tinto’s first rodeo Human rights violations. THe has also accused the company of “grossly unethical conduct”. Norwegian Pension Fund. Indigenous Australian lawyer and land rights activist Noel Pearson told the Times that the resignation was a major step and it “In Like in the past, indigenous people would have no one to trust in such a case of barbarism. “But the Queensland University sociologist Kristen Lyon said on paper that nothing had changed about the structural laws that benefit corporations.”The departure of indigenous people, nor of officials, “addresses deep inequality among those who have authority over decision-making.”