By Australian Associated Press
Published: 02:10 BST, 11 September 2020 | Updated: 03:01 BST, 11 September 2020
The head of global mining giant Rio Tinto and two other executives have resigned after an investor revolt over the destruction of the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia.
Jean-Sebastien Jacques will stay on as chief executive until a successor is found or until March next year, whichever comes first.
Iron ore boss Chris Salisbury and corporate relations manager Simone Niven will also leave the company.
Their resignations come after months of pressure over the destruction of Aboriginal sacred sites dating back 46,000 years.
Jean-Sebastien Jacques (pictured) will stay on as chief executive until a successor is found or until March next year, whichever comes first
uukan Gorge in Western Australia -- one of the earliest known sites occupied by Aboriginals in Australia, taken on June 2, 2013 (top) and how it was on May 15, 2020 (bottom)
'What happened at Juukan was wrong,' Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said in a statement on Friday.
'We are determined to ensure the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation.'
Mr Thompson acknowledged a lack of individual accountability had undermined the company's ability to rebuild trust and move forward.
Environment and shareholder activist groups were quick to welcome the resignations.