Mining giant Rio Tinto will withdraw a € 3 million bonus from its boss, Frenchman Jean-Sébastien Jacques, after the dynamic “Australian site inhabited by Aborigines more than 46,000 years ago.
Rio Tinto wanted to expand an iron ore mine. So on May 24, 2020, the Anglo-Australian mining group blew up the cave Juukan Gorge, Western Australia. However, the mine was one of the oldest settlements in the country. Confronted with the uprising in Australia caused by this destruction, the group took action as symbolic as it was punitive and asked its CEO, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, to give up its £ 2.7 million (or € 3 million) bonus
The head of the “Iron Ore” division Chris Salisbury and the head of communications Simone Niven for their part will waive bonuses of 792,000 US dollars and 687,000 US dollars, the group also announced after an internal investigation.
Legal permissions to destroy the site
However, the investigation showed that Rio Tinto had obtained the legal authority to destroy the website but that the group had not respected its own standards by doing so. She said the blast was “not the result of a single cause or a single fault”, but “the result of a series of decisions, actions and omissions over a long period”.
Rio Tinto President Simon Thompson lamented his group’s lack of respect for local communities and their heritage. “This study provides a clear framework for change. It must be emphasized that this is only the beginning of a process and not the end,” he said. “We will implement important new measures to ensure that what happened in Juukan Cave does not happen again.”
A 28,000 year old kangaroo bone tool
The cultural significance of the site had been established through excavations carried out one year after Rio Tinto was granted permission to destroy it. These excavations revealed the oldest bone tool ever discovered in Australia, 28,000 years ago from a kangaroo. DNA analyzes had made it possible to establish a link between the local population and people still living in the area.
The state of Western Australia is reviewing the laws on mining near the original sites.