By Rhiannon Hoyle 
 

SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC named Ben Wyatt, Western Australia state's former aboriginal affairs minister, as a nonexecutive director as the miner continues to rebuild relations with indigenous landowners following the destruction of two ancient rock shelters in Australia last year.

Rio Tinto said Mr. Wyatt, who was also previously the iron-ore-rich state's treasurer and left politics in March, would join its board on Sep. 1.

"With family links to the Pilbara and an impressive track record in public life, Ben's knowledge of public policy, finance, international trade and Indigenous affairs will significantly add to the depth of knowledge on the board at a time when we are seeking to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders in Australia and around the world," said chairman Simon Thompson.

Mr. Thompson isn't seeking reelection next year because of the demolition of the Juukan Gorge shelters that contained a trove of artifacts indicating they had been occupied by humans more than 46,000 years ago. He will become the fourth senior leader to leave the world's second-largest mining company because of the caves' destruction, after Jean-Sébastien Jacques was removed as chief executive and two other executives were forced out.

Rio Tinto has said it is working to repair relations with indigenous groups. Mr. Wyatt said he was "deeply saddened and disappointed" by the destruction of the Juukan Gorge shelters.

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 03, 2021 18:59 ET (22:59 GMT)

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