An Australian aboriginal group has accused excavator giant Rio Tinto of dumping hundreds of unchanging cultural artifacts from before the Ice Age. They have also accused multinational mining corporations of scattering antiquities in the rubbish from indigenous sites, keeping all indigenous Indigenous owners in the dark about the destruction of their land while. The Wintawari Guruma Abraginal Corporation (WGAC) said the East Guruma elders “accidentally found, and then deliberately abandoned and destroyed” Rio Tinto’s culturally important landmarks in the iron ore-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The allegations were made to be submitted to the Australian Parliament on Friday 25 June, as reported by the Guardian. While working at the Marandu iron ore mine in the mid-1990s, the tribal group argued for 20 of the 26 site materials used by the East Guruma, including an 18,000-year-old ice age rock shelter that was recovered and later destroyed. Most of these elements were duly canceled with the approval of the Rio Tinto in the following few years without the knowledge of the traditional Thihwa owners. They even complained that material from 20 sites had been inadvertently snatched from Darwin’s rubbish heap.
“There was little respect for the state’s conditions, or for the small amount of cultural heritage that was destroyed. Hundreds of former Guruma cultural monuments ended up in Bin. According to the Guardian, the WGAC said in a statement that, Haste and destruction were never disclosed to the Guruma people before. “It’s a secret that Hammersley Iron [a wholly owned company of Rio Tinto] and the government have kept for almost 25 years.”
Even beyond the indomitable cultural significance of the destroyed specimens, much of this material has archaeological significance and may provide insights into how ancient indigenous peoples lived during the last ice age. Rio Tinto made headlines in 2020 after being blown up in a 46,000-year-old rock shelter considered sacred to indigenous peoples in Western Australia. The event has sparked widespread outrage and sparked widespread criticism of Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest mining company. In response, the company replaced many of its top executives and promised to improve its heritage conservation practices.
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