The company has said that Jax will step down as soon as his successor is selected or at the end of next March, whichever date comes first.
Two other executives are leaving: Chris Salisbury, chairman of the Iron Ore Business, and Simon Niven, group manager for corporate relations. Salisbury resigns immediately and will leave the company later this year. Niven will also be leaving at the end of December.
Rio Tinto’s stake in Sydney fell nearly 1% on Friday.
“What happened in Jukan was a mistake,” Rio Tinto chief Simon Thompson said in a statement, referring to the destruction of two rock camps in Western Australia, including artifacts that mark thousands of years of continuous human occupation.
“We are committed to ensuring that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance in the Rio Tinto operation will never happen again,” Thompson added.
All three executives will receive some more pay as part of the terms of their contracts, including long-term incentive rewards. They have already been fined Rs 8 3.8 million (approximately Rs 5 million) in the cut bonus.
In a statement released last month, the company said it had failed to meet some of its own standards “regarding responsible management and preservation of cultural heritage”. But it did not fire any executives – drawing criticism from investment groups accusing the company of failing to take full responsibility for the demolition of the caves. These caves had significant archaeological value and deep cultural meaning to the tribal people.
In a statement on Friday, Rio Tinto acknowledged that “significant shareholders have expressed concern about administrative liability for identified misconduct.”
Some legal groups in Australia have welcomed Rio Tinto’s decision.
“This is the first step on a long path to restoring good practice and reputation in Rio Tinto’s relations with the Indigenous people,” said James Fitzgerald, legal adviser and head of strategy at the Australian Center for Australian Accountability.
“The damage is irreparable,” he said. “We have to listen [Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura] People wonder if they are satisfied with any compensation offered by Rio Tinto. “
The National Indigenous Title Council, an organization representing the rights and interests of indigenous police forces, also welcomed the departure.