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13 Jun 2020

Reuters, The New York Times

Rio Tinto Loses Australian Indigenous Backing After Blasting Sacred Caves

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10 June 2020

An Australian indigenous group has suspended Rio Tinto from its reconciliation plan after world's biggest iron ore miner blasted two ancient sacred caves as part of a mine expansion.

Reconciliation Australia, the lead body for promoting better ties between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, announced the move after Rio Tinto destroyed the two Aboriginal caves....

"The blasting activity in Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto exposes a broken relationship with the Puutu Kunti Kurama and Pinikura (PKKP) Peoples and a breathtaking breach of a respectful relationship," Reconciliation Australia said on Tuesday.


The NGO said that it had met with Rio Tinto executives to convey its "extreme concern" and that a review of the suspension will depend on how it engages with the Traditional Owner groups.

It is also dependent on Rio Tinto releasing a full and public review into the matter, sustained action in light of the review, and "meaningful accountability."

"Our heritage processes will be comprehensively reviewed, with board and indigenous leader oversight, to help identify, understand and recommend ways to improve," Rio Tinto said.

Part of the following timelines

Australia: Rio Tinto mining blast destroys ancient Aboriginal sacred site

Australia: Extractive companies’ projects threaten to destroy Aboriginal heritage sites