The CEO of major mining corporation Rio Tinto is stepping down after the destruction of two Aboriginal caves with 46,000 years of history in Western Australia.
The sites' demolition sparked outcry and intense pressure from shareholders.
The departures of CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two deputies are the highest profile examples yet of the increasing muscle of international investors to hold companies accountable for human rights obligations.
They also come amid heightened sensitivity in Australia to its treatment of Aboriginal people, who are over represented in the country's prisons and suffer poorer health and shorter-than-average life spans.
Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan:"It was obviously a disappointing set of events, very disappointing, these were priceless pieces of Australian history. Obviously the company has made their own decision around their senior executives, I'll leave those decisions to the company."
Activists and investors said Rio had fallen short in an earlier board-led review into how the miner legally detonated rockshelters which showed millenia of human habitation against the wishes of traditional owners.
The cave blasts enabled Rio to access $135 million of high-grade iron ore -- but damaged its reputation for dealing with indigenous groups in its worldwide operations.
Rio said a search was already underway to replace Jacques, who had apologised at an Australian Senate enquiry last month into the cave blasts.
But Jamie Lowe, CEO of the National Native Title Council that represents traditional owners, says that's not enough:
"We're also calling for a systemic and forensic review of their systems and processes and policies, and it needs to be Aboriginal led. I've been talking to a lot of mining companies of recent time, and everyone that I've talked to is non-Aboriginal and they're doing Aboriginal business."
Meanwhile the controversy has spilled over to the rest of the industry, with at least two other companies pledging to review mine plans that could threaten sacred sites as they step up talks with traditional owners.