Rio Tinto CEO, other executives resign over cave blast debacle

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Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two other senior managers have resigned following widespread condemnation of the miner for blasting ancient Australian rock shelters.

Rio Tinto blew up the shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in May to access higher-grade iron ore. The sites, estimated to be 46,000 years old, were of cultural significance to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.

Jacques had stood down 'by mutual agreement' with the board, after 'significant stakeholders expressed concerns about executive accountability for the failings identified', the company said.

Also departing were iron ore chief Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs head Simone Niven.

Jacques, who took the reins at Rio Tinto in July 2016, would remain as CEO until the appointment of a successor or 31 March, whichever was earlier.

Salisbury was being replaced by current managing director for rail, port and core services Ivan Vella.


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