PKKP and Rio Tinto to create Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation

Rio Tinto has signed an agreement to create and fund a foundation to protect Aboriginal artwork in Australia. Credit: Rio Tinto

he Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal corporation and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) have  agreed to create the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation, after signing a remedy agreement regarding the tragic destruction of two ancient rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in 2020.

The foundation is to be led and controlled by traditional owners. This in order to enable the delivery of broader benefits, create a foundation that supports the cultural, social, educational and economic aspirations of the group through commercial partnership opportunities in accordance with the right to self-determination. 

Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will provide financial support to the foundation to progress major cultural and social projects including a new keeping place for storage of important cultural materials.

According to the company, the agreement forms part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to remedying and rebuilding its relationship with the PKKP people. In addition to supporting the creation of the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation, remedy discussions have centred on agreeing a new approach to co-management of Country as well as the ongoing rehabilitation of the rock shelters and their surrounds at Juukan Gorge.

Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said, “We fell far short of our values as a company and breached the trust placed in us by the PKKP people by allowing the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters. As we work hard to rebuild our relationship, I would like to thank the PKKP people, their elders, and the corporation for their guidance and leadership in forming this important agreement.”

At the request of the PKKP, the financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.

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