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Commodities

Australia miners fear further blast fallout after Rio CEO's exit

Resource companies expect more curbs after destruction of ancient Juukan cave

A protest in Perth following Rio Tinto's destruction of two ancient rock shelters. Shareholders also voiced concern over the mining giant's actions.   © EPA/Jiji

SYDNEY -- Rio Tinto's chief executive is stepping down amid an investor backlash after the mining giant blasted one of the world's oldest heritage sites three months ago -- but his exit is unlikely to contain the questions hanging over Australia's lucrative mining sector.

On Friday, Rio announced CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques will leave the role by March 31. The move came just three weeks after an internal review by its board stopped short of assigning any individual accountability for the Juukan Gorge disaster, in which a 46,000-year-old cultural site in Western Australia was destroyed to expand mining operations.

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