Rio Tinto CEO resigns following Juukan Gorge destruction

2020/09/30 13:05

Today's Vocabulary

1. condemnation (n) 
the act of condemning something or someone

2. relics (n) 
an object, tradition, or system from the past that continues to exist

3. aboriginal (n) 
a member of a race of people who were the first people to live in a country, before any colonists arrived

4. remain (v)
to stay in the same place  or in the same condition

5. stakeholder (n)
a person or group of people who own a share in a business 

6. undermines (v)
to gradually weaken or destroy someone or something

7. accountability (n) 
the fact of being responsible for what you do and able to give a satisfactory reason  for it, or the degree to which this happens

Rio Tinto CEO resigns following Juukan Gorge destruction

Rio Tinto has announced that CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques will step down following investor pressure and widespread criticism over the company’s destruction of ancient Aboriginal sites.

In May this year, Rio Tinto drew international condemnation for its destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in Juukan Gorge. Two caves, containing almost 7,000 relics that had genetic links to the site’s present-day traditional owners, were blown up using dynamite as part of Rio Tinto’s expansion project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Rio Tinto has now announced that, following stakeholder concerns over executive accountability for the company’s failings, Jacques will step down from his role as an executive director and CEO. Jacques will remain in his post until 31 March 2021, or until a successor is appointed.

The mining major also announced the departure of Chris Salisbury, Rio Tinto’s iron ore chief. Salisbury has stepped down from the role with immediate effect and will leave the company on 31 December 2020. Group executive for corporate communications Simone Niven will also depart the company on the same date.

Rio Tinto chair Simon Thomson said: “What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation.

“We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other Traditional Owners. We have listened to our stakeholders’ concerns that a lack of individual accountability undermines the Group’s ability to rebuild that trust and to move forward to implement the changes identified in the Board Review.”

  1. Do mining companies have the right to take things from the earth?
  2. What do you think about mining?
  3. What do we need mining companies for?

“Mining is like a search-and-destroy mission.”

Stewart Udall