blasting|Financial|Iron Ore|Projects|Storage|Operations
blasting|Financial|Iron Ore|Projects|Storage|Operations

Another Rio blast damages rock shelter

Image shows Rio Tinto logo

Photo by Bloomberg

22nd September 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Diversified miner Rio Tinto on Friday said it was working with traditional owners in the Pilbara after blasting operations at its Nammuldi iron-ore mine impacted an ancient rock shelter.

“As part of our cultural heritage monitoring and management processes, last month we identified the fall of a Pilbara scrub tree and a one square metre rock from the overhang of a rock shelter in an area adjacent to the Nammuldi mine site,” Rio’s iron-ore CEO Simon Trott said in a statement.

“As soon as we identified this, we paused work which was occurring 150 metres away, and notified the Traditional Owners of the land, the Muntulgura Guruma people.  

“Initial assessments taken by drone haven’t found structural damage to the rock shelter or impacts to any cultural materials.  

“We are working closely with the Muntulgura Guruma people to better understand what has happened and will be guided by them on the appropriate next steps. We deeply respect the Muntulgura Guruma people and have apologised for this incident.”  

Blasting operations undertaken by Rio in 2020 at its Brockman 4 site, destroyed two ancient rock shelters at Juukan Gorge, which dated back more than 46 000 years and were considered culturally significant.

The fall-out from the destruction saw major changes to the company’s leadership, as well as an internal review and independent audit into the company’s cultural heritage management compliance and performance.

Since then, the company has been working to fix its relations with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation, including signing a remedy agreement that will see the miner provide financial support to the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation to progress major cultural and social projects including a new keeping place for storage of important cultural materials.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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