Rio TNTinto

It is not immediately obvious how to respond when you have just blown up not one but two ancient Aboriginal sites dating back 46,000 years, but if you are mining giant Rio Tinto, simply saying sorry is deemed sufficient.
Having destroyed the ancient rock shelters in Western Australia, Rio Tinto issued an apology and said it was urgently reviewing plans for other sites in the area.Since this is shutting the stable door after the horse has exploded, Rio Tinto’s apology will likely hold little sway with the devastated Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people who claim the mining company disregarded their concerns for the Juukan Gorge’s special significance. Indeed a spokesperson for PKKP said Rio did not advise of its intention to blast the area.
Talking to The Guardian, Peter Stone, Unesco’s chair in cultural property protection and peace, likened the archaeological destruction at Juukan Gorge to the Taliban blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas statues in Afghanistan and Isis annihilating sites in the Syrian city of Palmyra.
The Australian government is due to pass an Aboriginal cultural heritage bill this year but, like everything else, its passage has been hindered by Covid-19, and even then such legislation will be of scant comfort to those left picking up the pieces of Rio Tinto’s disastrous earlier work.

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