Rio Tinto cuts executive bonuses after Australia cave destruction

Rio Tinto says it will cut the short-term bonuses of some senior executives but stopped short of a leadership overhaul following review of the company’s destruction of two ancient caves in Australia.

Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two other leaders will take financial penalties after the world’s biggest iron ore miner legally destroyed two historically significant sacred caves in the state of Western Australia – against the wishes of their Aboriginal traditional owners – as part of a mine expansion.

Rio said it would reduce the short-term bonuses of Jacques, Chief Executive of Iron Ore Chris Salisbury, and Group Executive, Corporate Relations Simone Niven in 2020 by about $3.7m in total.

Jacques’s long-term incentive plan award would also be reduced by about 1 million pounds ($1.3m). He was paid 5.8 million pounds ($7.6m) last year.

“The Rio Tinto board has come to an informed judgment that the sanctions that have been applied to senior executives are appropriate,” Michael L’Estrange, who led the review, told the Reuters news agency.

Rio Tinto blew up the caves in Juukan Gorge, about 1,075km (667 miles) north of Perth, in May as part of an expansion programme in the Pilbara iron ore region, provoking an outcry and calls for reform of heritage protection laws.


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