Rio Tinto ordered to rebuild two Aboriginal rock shelters it blew up

Rio Tinto ordered to rebuild the two Aboriginal rock shelters it blew up in and pay compensation

Australian politicians slammed Rio Tinto’s ‘inexcusable’ destruction of two 46,000-year-old rock shelters in Western Australia

Rio Tinto has been ordered to rebuild two 46,000-year-old rock shelters it blew up in May, and pay compensation to the traditional owners.

Australian politicians slammed the mining company’s ‘inexcusable’ destruction of the sacred sites in the Juukan Gorge, Western Australia.

A parliamentary inquiry urged Rio to negotiate with the local Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people, introduce a moratorium on mining in the area, and reconstruct the caves.

Rio blasted the caves to expand an iron ore mine. But it later emerged that there had been other options, which it did not tell the PKKP.

Australian MPs said: ‘Rio knew the value of what they were destroying but blew it up anyway.’

The PKKP described the destruction as ‘soul-destroying’.¬†

The incident sparked global outrage and led to a boardroom clearout, with chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two other top executives standing down.

Rio was allowed to blow up the shelters under local heritage laws.