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Rio Tinto reiterates apology as annual report published

Rio Tinto reiterates apology as annual report published

(Posted on 24/02/21)

Rio Tinto has published its 2020 Annual Report and its Sustainability Fact Book. These documents complement the publication of Rio Tinto’s 2020 full year results and the Climate Change Report on 17 February 2021.

Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson said: “Our strong performance during 2020 was overshadowed by the destruction of the ancient rock shelters in the Juukan Gorge and I reiterate our unreserved apology to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people. We fell far short of our values as a company and breached the trust placed in us. It is our responsibility to ensure that the destruction of a site of such exceptional cultural significance never happens again.

“Since then, we have taken decisive action to implement the recommendations of the Board review, resulting in stronger management oversight and governance of cultural heritage. I am confident that, as we continue to reflect on the lessons learned through our ongoing engagement with investors, employees, government, Indigenous leaders and, most importantly, Traditional Owners we will emerge as a stronger company.

“The choice of Jakob as our new Chief Executive was a key decision for the Board. His collaborative leadership style, strong values and personal commitment to the role of business in promoting sustainability made him the ideal choice to lead us forward. I am delighted that Jakob has moved quickly to announce his new Executive team and to identify his priorities for the Group, focused on operational excellence, project development, strengthening our ESG credentials, and rebuilding trust - particularly in Australia.

“We have also refreshed the Board with the appointment of Hinda Gharbi, Jennifer Nason and Ngaire Woods and are already benefiting from their insights and expertise in governance, public policy and sustainability. We are now seeking to strengthen representation on the Board from our key countries of operation. Our priority, following a turbulent 2020, will be to support Jakob and the new Executive team in continuing to deliver the necessary changes after Juukan Gorge and rebuilding the trust we have lost.”

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: “In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic threatened lives and livelihoods, we demonstrated our agility and resilience in achieving a very strong safety and financial performance. However, this was all overshadowed by the tragic events at Juukan Gorge.

“I am committed to working with my leadership team, with the support of the Board, to make Rio Tinto even stronger and, over time, see our great company earn back its respect and credibility with all our stakeholders. We have strong foundations to build upon and a clear path forward: to become ‘best operator’, build impeccable ESG credentials, and excel in development, along with a clear focus on regaining a strong social license to operate.”

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