The world’s leading iron ore delivered the biggest dividend in its history yesterday – $7.18 a share – following a rise in iron ore prices since last year.
Mr Stausholm said he recently travelled to the Pilbara to meet local indigenous people, who remain shocked by the destruction.
He said he used the visit to “express my deep regret about the damage we caused”.
And the destruction of the rock shelters was a “dark day” for Rio Tinto.
The company’s biggest customers for its iron ore are Chinese steel mills.
They combine the mineral with coal and in blast furnaces heated at more than 1000C to make liquid steel.
Mr Stausholm also said the mining giant would aim to reduce its massive carbon footprint across its global operations.
Part of Rio Tinto’s plans to reduce emissions will be to partner with steel producers to develop technologies that can slash their carbon footprint by 30 per cent from 2030.