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Rio Tinto executives lose bonuses for destruction of ancient aboriginal site

The miner added it will implement new measures to give heritage issues equivalent priority with safety and operational performance

Rio Tinto PLC -
Rio Tinto mining operations

Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) has cut the bonuses of three senior board members including its chief executive following the dynamiting of historic aboriginal caves that showed human life dating back 46,000 years.

Jean-Sebastien Jacques, Rio's chief executive, will lose a total of £2.7mln while Chris Salisbury, the chief of the iron ore division and Simone Niven, the head of PR, will lose around £500,000 each.

In a review published today, Rio Tinto said while it had the legal authority to mine the Juukan Rockshelters, what happened fell short of the standards and internal guidance that the company sets for itself, over and above its legal obligations.

It followed from a series of decisions, actions and omissions over an extended period of time, underpinned by flaws in systems, data sharing, engagement within the company and with the PKKP local community, and poor decision-making, Rio said.

The miner added it will implement new measures to give heritage issues equivalent priority with safety and operational performance going forward.

In a statement, Simon Thompson, the FTSE 100-listed miner's chairman said: "While the review provides a clear framework for change, it is important to emphasise that this is the start of a process, not the end.

“We will implement important new measures and governance to ensure we do not repeat what happened at Juukan Gorge and we will continue our work to rebuild trust with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.”

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