Rio Tinto: Saying you didn’t know can never be an excuse

Rio Tinto’s cave-destroying scandal is at best a result of bad corporate communication.

by Stephen Jones

It may be impossible ever to count the real cost of Rio Tinto’s decision to blow up the Juukan Gorge caves. At £2.7 million in short-term bonuses, and now his job, the personal cost to CEO Jean-Sebastian Jacques is more measurable. 

The Anglo-Australian miner’s chief exec has reached a mutual agreement to step down by the end of March 2021, after facing growing pressure from investors over the firm’s decision to extend its iron ore extraction efforts, which in the process destroyed the cave system which is of deep cultural significance to Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura aboriginal peoples.

Jacques will be joined by the head of iron ore Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs chief Simone Niven. All three will still be entitled to long-term bonuses. 

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