ALL NEWS

Rio Tinto’s new CEO pledges to ‘restore trust’ after destruction of sacred Indigenous site

Dec 17, 2020, 6:59 AM

Rio Tinto's new CEO, Jakob Stausholm, pledges to 'restore trust' after destruction of sacred Indige...

Rio Tinto's new CEO, Jakob Stausholm, pledges to 'restore trust' after destruction of sacred Indigenous site. Credit: Courtesy of Rio Tinto

    (CNN) — Rio Tinto has found a new chief after a crisis this year led to the ouster of its top executive.

On Thursday, the mining giant named Chief Financial Officer Jakob Stausholm as CEO. Stausholm will assume the role on January 1, the same day outgoing CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques is slated to step down.

Jacques resigned under pressure from investors in September over the company’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred Indigenous site in Australia. It demolished the Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia in May to expand an iron ore mine.

The decision to blow up the site had faced a seven-year battle by the local custodians of the land, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, to protect it.

Rio Tinto later apologized for the incident, with its chairman Simon Thompson admitting: “What happened at Juukan was wrong.”

The company also cut bonuses for Jacques and two other senior executives, totaling a combined £3.8 million ($5 million).

But it didn’t immediately fire any executives, which led to more backlash.

Investor groups accused Rio Tinto of failing to take full responsibility for the demolition of the caves, which had held significant archeological value and deep cultural meaning for Aboriginal people. The two rock shelters, for instance, had contained artifacts indicating tens of thousands of years of continuous human occupation.

Some politicians have since called for restitution.

Last week, an inquiry panel from the Joint Standing Committee of Northern Australia found that Rio Tinto should pay reparations to Indigenous Australians. It described the destruction of the caves as “inexcusable,” but did not specify a proposed amount.

UBS analysts noted that the committee’s report was not government policy, writing in a Wednesday research note that “unilateral action is unlikely.” They added, though, that Rio Tinto is “likely to pay compensation” over the incident.

In a statement Thursday, Stausholm recognized the challenge ahead of him, acknowledging “the difficult times we have faced during 2020.”

“I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company,” the incoming CEO added, referring to the land’s local custodians.

Rio’s stock in London rose 1.9% on Thursday following the news. Shortly before the announcement, its shares in Sydney had closed up 1.8%.

Angus Watson, Laura He and Sandi Sidhu contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Cars drive on I-80 with a snowy mountain backdrop after snowstorms hit the Wasatch Front throughout...

Adam Small

Overnight storm clearing out but another storm is on the way

The overnight storm that hit northern Utah has mostly cleared however, another storm expected this weekend.

6 minutes ago

Rebecca Bistany remains locked out of her husband Paul's iPhone, nearly a year and a half after his...

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

Making your online accounts accessible when you die

A password management company says we each person have an average of 100 online accounts, what happens to them?

32 minutes ago

Utah's avalanche danger has been dangerous for the last week, with the Utah Avalanche Center report...

MICHAEL HOUCK, KSL-TV

Skier severely injured following avalanche near Little Water Peak

A skier was injured after being caught in an avalanche on Monday Feb. 26. The skier was hoisted to safety.

1 hour ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

2 hours ago

Image of TV remote featuring Netflix button. Netflix may direct customers to stop paying for their ...

Samantha Delouya, CNN

You may lose access to your Netflix account if you’re paying through Apple

The update by Netflix comes after years of pushback from apps in Apples iOS App Store for taking a 30% cut of all in-app purchases.

3 hours ago

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Rio Tinto’s new CEO pledges to ‘restore trust’ after destruction of sacred Indigenous site