Aboriginal group working for better Rio Tinto ties

The Aboriginal group whose sacred rock shelters Rio Tinto destroyed in Western Australia last year for an iron ore mine says it wants a better relationship with the global miner to prevent anything like that happening again.

Rio Tinto destroyed 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia last May.

It went against the traditional owners, causing a public outcry.

Burchell Hayes, a director at the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation, said co-management was the only way forward.

"There's still a lot of work to be done. We've had to reset the relationship. I've always said that we are committed to building that relationship. We are not opposed to mining, however we want to ensure that we are around the table when it comes to making decisions about impact on our country. We are not going to let this happen again."

The shelters held some of the oldest evidence of continuous human habitation.

"No amount of money will ever replace that. Nothing. I'd rather have the rock shelter back than you write me a cheque. That's how I feel about it."

The incident cost Rio's boss, chair and two senior executives their jobs.

Rio Tinto's shareholders rejected the miner's executive pay packages earlier this month, in a backlash against the destruction.

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