Mining giant Rio Tinto faced a shareholder rebellion over a $ 10 million (£ 7.2 million) bonus for its extroverted boss.
In rare cases, 61% of the votes cast at the annual meeting opposed the company’s executive compensation package.
The backlash occurs after the company destroyed the sacred Aboriginal rock shelter in Western Australia last May.
Rio Tinto blasted a 46,000-year-old rock shelter in the Jukan Valley to expand its iron ore mine, protesting and leading to several resignations.
The salary package covers $ 55 million allocated to salaries and bonuses for the company’s top 14 executives.
Despite the shareholder rebellion, executives are still expected to receive payments, as the vote was only advice.
In September, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sébastien Jacques Jacques and other senior management, including heads of the Iron Ore and Business Relations divisions, said they would leave the company.
And earlier this year, Chairman Simon Thompson and non-executive director Michael Restaurante also said they would leave the company.
“I am ultimately responsible for the failure that led to this tragic event,” Thompson said in a statement.
Following the result of the vote, the company said, “This constitutes a’first strike’.”
In Australia, the board of directors may face a vote for dismissal if a company’s executive compensation proposal is rejected by shareholders for the second consecutive year.
“The board acknowledges that the consequences of executive compensation related to tragic events in the Jukan Gorge are delicate and controversial issues,” Rio Tinto said in a statement.
What was the Jukan Gorge?
Considered one of Australia’s most important archaeological research sites, the Cave of the Jukan Gorge showed evidence of continued human settlement dating back 46,000 years.
Relics found in the cave include 28,000-year-old animal bone tools and 4,000-year-old human hair braided belts.
DNA testing linked it directly to the people of Putukuntikrama and Pinikura-the traditional owners of the land.
The shelter was on about 8 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore, with an estimate of $ 104 million.
In December, a parliamentary investigation ordered Rio Tinto to rebuild the cave system and blow up their destruction as “inexcusable.”
In that report -Titled “Never Again”-The investigation concluded that Rio Tinto “knows the value of what they are destroying, but has blown it up anyway.”
We made seven recommendations, including a moratorium on all mining in the area and changes to heritage protection legislation.