Rio Tinto scrambles to curb fallout from heritage site blasts (Financial Times – June 7, 2020)

Simon Thompson, the chairman of Rio Tinto, has scheduled a series of meetings with UK investors as the group scrambles to contain the fallout from the destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site.

The world’s biggest iron ore miner blew up two sacred rock caves last month as part of a mine expansion, sparking an international outcry and calls for an overhaul of Australia’s heritage protection laws.

Legal & General, one of the 10 biggest shareholders in Rio, has spoken out against the incident. The first meetings are scheduled for this week.

“The chairman is conducting calls as part of his regular engagement with key investors and will use the opportunity to provide additional context in relation to Juukan Gorge and to hear the views of investors on this and other matters,” Rio said in a statement.

The blasts at Juukan Gorge come as big investors are increasingly focusing on environmental, social and governance metrics in deciding which companies to own and sell.

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