Around this time last year, a team of Rio Tinto engineers were suffering from the heat wave in the hinterland of Western Australia.
Within a few days, they pierced hundreds of blast holes in the red sandstone and then loaded it with explosives.
Their mission was to expand the site of Rio’s Brockman 4 mine in the Pilbara region and dig up an estimated £ 100 million of iron ore buried in rock.
Fury: Earlier this month Rio faced a shareholder rebellion. It revolves around millions of rewards and bonuses given to exiled boss Jean Sebastian Jack and other shameful executives.
This was not a major project by Rio standards, as Pilbara alone has an estimated 3 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves. However, it has proven to be very expensive.
Lying in the center of the blast site was the Jukan Valley, a sanctuary for local Aboriginal people, with two 46,000-year-old rock shelters.
The cave was blown away by the Smithereens when the explosion button was pressed on the morning of May 24, last year – with much of Rio’s reputation.
At first it was all one big misconception, despite the British Australian mining giants fully recognizing the importance of the site and receiving increasingly desperate plea to abandon the blast from local indigenous peoples. It made things worse by claiming that.
A devastating parliamentary investigation in Australia later concludes: “Rio knew the value of what they were destroying, but blew it up anyway.”
The shock wave of the explosion can still be felt today.
Earlier this month, Rio faced a major payment rebellion from shareholders. This revolved around millions of payments and bonuses passed to exiled boss Jean Sebastian Jack and other shameful executives.
John Ashburton (pictured) is a member of PKKP Aboriginal Corporation.The Jukan Valley is named after my grandfather
However, shareholder anger is less than what the people of Putukuntikrama and Pinikura (PKKP), who live in this vast iron ore-rich area, feel.
They say they can’t forgive Rio because they’re left “trauma” by the destruction of the cave.
A year later, two prominent members of PKKP visited the Juukan Canyon to commemorate the anniversary of the fateful explosion.
Burchell Hayes, director of PKKP Aboriginal Corporation, vividly remembers when he heard the news.
He was traveling from Port Hedland to the mining town of Karasa with his four grandchildren east along the northwest coast of Australia.
“It was devastating to us,” he said. “You felt the emptiness that something was robbed of you. Something very important to you and our community.
Rio promised to indemnify PKKP, but Hayes said: Rather than writing a check, I would like you to return the Iwain ruins. That’s how I feel about it. “
He was accompanied by another prominent member of PKKP, John Ashburton, on the trip. The Jukan Valley is named after his grandfather Tommy, known as Jukan.
“We are the caretakers of this land. We need to preserve what is there,” he said. “For us, it’s not rocks or sculptures. It’s precious to us. It means something to us.”
People at PKKP believe that the 1,300-foot-long sandstone canyon is where the spirits of their ancestors rest.
Includes a sacred rock pool in the shape of a snake head that enters the ground. This is also badly damaged.
Over the last few decades, various archaeological studies, some of which were funded by Rio, have found more than 7,000 relics in the canyon.
Among the most amazing discoveries are the 30,000-year-old whetstone and the wreckage of a 4,000-year-old belt made of human hair genetically identified to match the ancient ancestors of PKKP. there is.
Holy: Two 46,000-year-old rock shelters in the Jukan Gorge in the hinterland of Western Australia destroyed by Rio Tinto last year
Ashburton and Hayes couldn’t get too close to the cave itself because their feet were so dangerous.
The painstaking work to restore them (Rio promised to do it himself) has not yet begun.
Due to all the vast resources as its disposal, it faces a very difficult task. One of the two caves identified as “Australia’s Most Archaeologically Important Place” was completely destroyed. It is hoped that once the rubble is finally cleared, the other cave can be recovered in some way.
But Rio has to do more than rebuild the cave to restore its reputation, and repair broken relationships with the indigenous peoples of Australia.
All three senior executives, including the CEO, the iron ore boss, and the general affairs manager, were all fired in this blunder.
Like its rival BHP Billiton, Rio has promised to troll thousands of heritage sites that could be affected by the expansion of the mine.
It claims to have learned from mistakes. A few months after the Jukan Gorge incident, Rio promised to protect the 43,000-year-old rock shelter around the Silvergrass Iron Ore Mine in Pilbara.
Together with BHP, we have promised to abolish the controversial gag clause that prevents Aboriginal groups from speaking in return for the royalties they receive.
Rio also promised to work more closely with the indigenous people, rather than talking to them later.
This will be one of the key roles of Simon Trot, CEO of Rio’s vast iron ore business. “What happened in the Jukan Canyon should never have happened,” he told Mail. “We need to learn from it and prevent it from happening again.
That is the focus of me and my team. Performing these steps, actually engaging and listening to traditional owners. We recognize that it will take time. There is still a long way to go. “
But this is not all of Rio Tinto. In an interim report last summer, a parliamentary survey of the Jukan Valley found that Rio’s ruthless focus on maximizing profits and little respect for Aboriginal heritage was “systematic” throughout the mining industry. I understand.
Mining companies said they are using weak federal and state law that provides little protection to traditional owners of land.
To address this, new legislation is slowly passing through the Western Australian Parliament.
Queensland Parliamentarian Warren Enchu, who chairs a parliamentary investigation into the Jukan Valley, described the case as a “game changer” for the entire mining industry.
“Now there is a much higher level of awareness,” he told the email. “Rio and others are really keen to avoid this kind of thing happening again in the future.
“The ideal result of all this is that this kind of cultural heritage will never be destroyed again.”
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How Rio blew its reputation to the Smithereens in the Jucan Canyon scandal
Source link How Rio blew its reputation to the Smithereens in the Jucan Canyon scandal