By Mike Cherney
SYDNEY--Mining giant Rio Tinto PLC said it would cut executive bonuses, including for its chief executive, following an internal review into the company's decision to blow up two rock shelters that were important to indigenous Australians.
Rio said Monday that Chief Executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Chief Executive of Iron Ore Chris Salisbury and Group Executive for Corporate Relations Simone Niven would not receive a performance-related bonus for 2020 under the company's short-term incentive plan. In addition, Mr. Jacques' 2016 long-term incentive plan award will be reduced by 1 million British pounds (US$1.3 million).
Rio said its review found that although the company obtained legal authority to impact the rock shelters in northwestern Australia's minerals-rich Pilbara region, it fell short of standards and internal guidance that Rio sets for itself. Rio also found a series of decisions and flaws in systems over an extended period of time ultimately led to the incident, and that no single individual or error was solely to blame.
"There were numerous missed opportunities over almost a decade and the company failed to uphold one of Rio Tinto's core values - respect for local communities and for their heritage," said Chairman Simon Thompson. "We are determined to learn, improve and rebuild trust across various internal and external partners."
The review detailed a number of areas where Rio could improve. Rio said it continues to cooperate with a government inquiry into the incident.
Rio Tinto previously apologized for the destruction of the caves and acknowledged that its actions had damaged trust between the company and the traditional owners of land around the Juukan Gorge site, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, or PKKP. The caves contained a trove of artifacts, indicating they had been occupied by humans more than 46,000 years ago.
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