Rio Tinto’s work destroyed an ancient cave, which they now have to restore.
According to a parliamentary inquiry in Australia, the mining giant Rio Tinto should restore the 46,000-year-old aboriginal cave system that exploded in May, the BBC writes.
Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia and were destroyed as part of an iron ore exploration project.
In a report released Wednesday, the investigation criticized Rio Tinto’s “unforgivable” act and said they should pay compensation.
Rio Tinto apologized and promised to change its practices.
Earlier this year, several of the company’s senior executives, including CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques, resigned because of the incident after negative reactions from shareholders and the public.
Before the destruction of the Djuukan Gorge cave in Pilbar, evidence of people’s permanent residence since the last ice age was discovered.
The caves were considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Australia, but they also contained more than eight million tonnes of high-quality iron ore with an estimated value of 75 million pounds (132 million Australian dollars; 96 million US dollars).
After protesting their destruction, Rio Tinto conducted an investigation, after which it reduced premiums for directors and began trying to build relationships with Aboriginal communities.
A parliamentary inquiry was also organized to investigate Rio Tinto’s behavior and assess the damage done to the people of Putu Kunti Curram and Pinikura (PKKP), traditional owners of the cave lands.
In its Never Again report, the investigation concluded that Rio Tinto “knew the price of what they were destroying, but still blew it up.
It made seven recommendations, including a moratorium on all mining in the area and changes to heritage laws.
PKKP Aboriginal Corporation approved the verdict and said it hoped it would “cause a fundamental reset in the mining sector.
Rio Tinto said in a statement that it is “working very hard to rectify the situation,” with PKKP, and the destruction of caves “does not reflect the values that [we] seek.