Mining giant Rio Tinto announced on Tuesday that it is set to form an indigenous advisory panel to ensure that cultural heritage sites within Australia were protected on its mine sites. This move comes after the company’s brand-damaging Juukan Gorge scandal where sacred Indigenous caves were destroyed for mine expansion.
Formation of IAG
The company announced that an Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) has been formed to recognise gaps in current protocols for managing indigenous culture in Australia. The company said that with IAG, it is set to identify and review the “best practice” for cultural management in the mining industry.
The company expressed confidence that the review would help identify gaps in the current protocols and provide a clear pathway to re-establish trust over time.
Details through seminars
Rio Tinto said that the details of the plans towards improving its approach to cultural heritage and community relations would be announced through seminars.
Interim reporting of disclosures by Q3 2021
Rio Tinto reported that it would make additional disclosures on the progress of heritage measures being undertaken. The company said that the disclosures would include measuring progress against the company’s commitments, identifying how traditional owners’ views were being sought, and increasing governance arrangements to oversee the company’s progress.
Rio Tinto said that it would commence with interim reporting of these disclosures in the third quarter of 2021. The miner said that annual reporting, along with periodic disclosure as appropriate would be done thereafter.