Business Maverick

Rio’s CEO Says Miner Made Key Changes Since Heritage Blasts

By Bloomberg 16 October 2020
Jean-Sebastien Jacques

Rio Tinto Group has made key changes to its cultural heritage management since the May explosions that damaged two Aboriginal Australian sites, outgoing CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques told a Parliamentary hearing Friday.

Rio Tinto Group is modernizing agreements with traditional landowners, won’t enforce clauses that restrict communities from speaking publicly about their concerns and is examining other measures to increase the economic benefit Indigenous people derive from Rio’s operations, Jacques said.

Rio is also reviewing all activities with the potential to impact heritage sites as a result of failures exposed in the Juukan Gorge blasts, the London-based producer said in a letter sent this week to 12 traditional owner groups.

Read more: Rio Backed CEO After Blast, Then Watchdog Investors Revolted

“We are committed to learning and we have made changes,” Jacques told the hearing, speaking from Canberra. “What Juukan has shown us is that we must modernize our approach to working with communities. It is a critical moment for us and the industry.”

Jacques was forced out last month after investors and legislators criticized Rio’s tame initial response to the incident, and will leave his position by March. Two other key executives are also leaving the company.

It remains unclear what the long-term implications are for Rio’s iron ore unit — its top earning division — as the company revises its approach, and as Australia’s heritage laws are amended, Rio said earlier in a production report. Iron ore shipments fell 5% in the third quarter on maintenance work, the company said.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet


Steinhoff implosion: Balance sheet fraud, it appears, is taken seriously in Germany

By Sasha Planting

"The past is always tense; the future perfect." ~ Zadie Smith