Thursday 17 December 2020 7:01 am

Rio Tinto appoints new chief exec after sacred cave destruction scandal

Rio Tinto has announced that Jakob Stausholm will become the mining giant’s new chief executive after his predecessor stood down following the destruction of a sacred cave system in Australia.

Stausholm, the FTSE 100 firm’s finance chief, will take the top job after Jean-Sebastien Jacques fell on his sword amid intense pressure.

The destruction of the 46,000-year-old Jukkan Gorge site has heaped scrutiny on Rio Tinto and generated outcry around the world.

Although the destruction, which was carried out to enlarge a iron ore mine, was technically legal, such was the backlash that Jacques and two deputies were forced to step down.

A recent inquiry into the incident found that the miner should rebuild the cave system as well as paying restitution to the indigenous Australians affected by the destruction.

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Stausholm will take up his post from 1 January, Rio Tinto said in a statement this morning.

He said: “Rio Tinto’s purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020.

“I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company.”

Read more: Rio Tinto should pay reparations for sacred cave destruction, inquiry finds