Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques, senior executives resign over Juukan Gorge destruction

Mr Jacques, Mr Salisbury and Ms Niven – whose division oversees group relations – have been final month stripped of $7 million of their 2020 bonuses after a board-led assessment discovered they needed to bear some duty.

Rio chairman Simon Thompson stated on the time nobody can be stood down over the matter, as a result of the board had determined they have been the perfect individuals to guide the vital reforms to heritage processes that have been required.

What occurred at Juukan was unsuitable. We’re decided to make sure the destruction of a heritage web site of such distinctive archaeological and cultural significance by no means happens once more at a Rio Tinto operation.

Rio chairman Simon Thompson

Nonetheless, the bonus cuts did not fulfill many shareholders and Indigenous leaders who advised board members that docking the pay of well-paid executives fell considerably in need of true accountability for the destruction of such a big web site.

Mr Thompson stated on Friday the dramatic escalation of penalties had been prompted by a collection of “essential stakeholders” voicing issues about government accountability for the failings recognized.


“There have been definitely some shareholders who felt strongly that the accountability was inappropriate and that this was a difficulty that wanted to be addressed to rebuild belief,” Mr Thompson advised The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

With a view to improve the board’s focus and engagement in Australia, Simon McKeon, a non-executive director and former Australian of the Yr for his philanthropic endeavours, can be appointed as Rio’s senior unbiased director instantly.

Among the many prominent investors to denounce the board’s proposed financial penalties were AustralianSuper, HESTA, Unisuper and a bunch of 81 British pension funds, which made their calls for for higher sanctions clear.

The Nationwide Native Title Council wrote to Mr Thompson describing the pay cuts as wholly insufficient and accusing the board of being “divorced from actuality”.

The blasting of the Juukan Gorge was legally sanctioned as a part of a long-planned growth of Rio’s Brockman four iron ore mine, nevertheless it went towards the desires of the land’s conventional homeowners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) individuals, who stated they have been shocked and left devastated.

Though Rio Tinto claimed it believed it had the PKKP’s consent till it was too late to cease the blast safely, the miner has issued public apologies and has acknowledged a number of failures in its communication with the standard homeowners that would have prevented the debacle.

“What occurred at Juukan was unsuitable,” Mr Thompson stated on Friday. “We’re decided to make sure the destruction of a heritage web site of such distinctive archaeological and cultural significance by no means happens once more at a Rio Tinto operation.”

Within the fallout from the catastrophe, a number of former Rio Tinto insiders have laid blame squarely on the management of Mr Jacques, who made sweeping modifications to the construction of the miner’s Aboriginal relations capabilities when he grew to become chief government in 2016. Bruce Harvey, who led Rio Tinto’s world group and Indigenous relations, and Glynn Cochrane, a senior adviser, stated Mr Jacques’ organisational overhaul diluted the roles of mine site leaders, anthropologists and archaeologists in community relations.

Politicians and Indigenous teams welcomed the information of the board shakeup, however strain nonetheless stays on the corporate and the mining to do higher.

Warren Entsch, the chair of the parliamentary committee wanting into the Juukan Gorge debacle, stated he can be looking for assurances from Rio Tinto that the three senior executives would proceed to supply proof to his inquiry.

It isn’t about simply getting a few scalps and saying that is the top of it, there may be much more that should come out of this.

Federal MP Warren Entsch

“I feel there may be much more to be teased out of this. It isn’t about simply getting a few scalps and saying that is the top of it, there may be much more that should come out of this,” he stated.

“It beggars perception that any person up the chain, any person that really pulls the bloody chain did not have some information of this. I hope they do not go away the nation earlier than they do current to us.”

The First Nations Heritage Safety Alliance stated the resignation of the Rio bosses was not sufficient.

“Till there may be industry-wide reform and strong legislative change, there shall be different appalling conditions like Juukan Gorge,” the alliance warned in a press release.


Historic artefacts unearthed on the Juukan Gorge shelters – together with grinding and pounding stones, a 28,000-year-old marsupial bone sharpened right into a instrument and a 4000-year-old belt made from plaited human hair with DNA linking it on to in the present day’s PKKP individuals – had positioned the caves among the many most vital archaeological analysis websites in Australia.

The lack of the positioning has highlighted the ability imbalance between Australia’s mining and conventional homeowners and raises questions now being thought-about by a federal parliamentary inquiry concerning the want for stronger authorized protections for conventional homeowners to safeguard heritage websites on their ancestral land.

A spokeswoman for the PKKP Aboriginal Company stated on Friday it had no remark to make on the chief resignations, however it will proceed to work with Rio Tinto.

“Our focus continues to relaxation closely on preserving Aboriginal heritage and advocating for wide-ranging modifications to make sure a tragedy like this by no means occurs once more,” she stated. “We can not and won’t enable one of these devastation to happen ever once more.”

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