14:00 GMT23 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the CEO of Australian metals and mining corporation Rio Tinto, and two other senior executives will step down following intense pressure of shareholders and authorities demanding actions in response to the company's decision to destroy ancient caves in Western Australia, the company said on Friday.

    "By mutual agreement, J-S Jacques will step down from his role as an executive director and Chief Executive of the Group. A process to identify his successor is underway ... Chris Salisbury will step down as Chief Executive, Iron Ore with immediate effect and will leave Rio Tinto on 31 December 2020 ... Simone Niven will step down as Group Executive, Corporate Relations, and will leave the Group on 31 December 2020 after completing an orderly transition of her responsibilities," the company said.

    The company believes that this move will ensure business continuity to maintain the strong performance of the mining giant's global operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques poses for photographs before announcing Rio Tinto's 2017 first-half results in London, Britain August 2, 2017
    © REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY
    Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques poses for photographs before announcing Rio Tinto's 2017 first-half results in London, Britain August 2, 2017

    The news comes following the publication on August 24 of the Board Review of Cultural Heritage Management, undertaken in response to the destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

    The cave system was destroyed in May so that the company could mine better quality iron ore, prompting an outcry from local indigenous groups and investors.

    Tags:
    resignation, mining, Australia, Rio Tinto
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