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Rio Tinto, Traditional Owners Begin Rebuilding Relationship After Destruction Of Indigenous Site

Rio Tinto Plc. (RTPPF.PK,RIO.L,RIO,RTNTF.PK) and the traditional owners of the Juukan Gorge rock shelter said that they have taken initial steps in rebuilding their relationship following the destruction of the 46,000-year-old rock shelters by Rio Tinto in May 2020.

They have begun remedial works at Juukan Gorge.

A joint session of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people or PKKP and Rio Tinto boards has been held to reaffirm the company's apology and commitment to rebuilding their relationship.

The PKKP acknowledged that Rio Tinto has taken steps to address the hurt and devastation caused by the miner's actions. But, they are the first of many that will be needed to ensure the avoidable and unnecessary destruction of cultural heritage sites, like Juukan Gorge, will never be repeated.

In addition, the PKKP and the companies said they will prepare a Heads of Agreement that will capture commitments and outline how both Rio Tinto and PKKP will work together. There has been some important progress made in the relationship so far. They are not underestimating the time it will take to genuinely work together and achieve the mutual objectives of the partnership.

The PKKP noted the appointment of new chief executive Jakob Stausholm and hopes that discussions between PKKP and Rio Tinto will continue in a positive direction.

In mid-December, Rio Tinto said that it appointed Jakob Stausholm as chief executive officer, effective 1 January 2021.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant said that J-S Jacques would step down from his role as an executive director and chief executive of the company effective from 1 January 2021 and would leave the Group on 31 March 2021.

Rio Tinto said in September that its chief executive officer J-S Jacques and two other executives would step down following criticism of the company's destruction of two ancient rock shelters in Western Australia.

Rio detonated explosives in May in an area of the Juukan Gorge, destroying the 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in Western Australia.

The company went ahead with blowing up the ancient rock shelters despite the opposition of Aboriginal traditional owners.

It had sparked widespread condemnation from shareholders, traditional owners and others.

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