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Rio Tinto fires executives over Simandou payments

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World Coal,

Rio Tinto has fired the two senior executives at the heart of a scandal over payments related to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

Earlier this month, the mining giant said it was investigating emails related to a US$10.5 million payment to a consultant who had helped the company acquire the mining rights for Simandou.

The company also said it has notified law enforcement officials and regulators, including the UE Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

In a statement on 16 November, the company it had now decided to terminate the contracts of Alan Davies, who had responsibility for Simandou at the time of the payments and had subsequently been appointed Chief Executive of Energy & Mineral, and Debra Valentine, Legal & Regulatory Affairs Group Executive.

“The board’s decision does not pre-judge the course of any external inquiries into this matter,” the company said. “However, the board concluded that the executives failed to maintain the standards of them under our global code of contact.”

Davies will be replaced as head of the Energy & Minerals business by Bold Baatar. Baatar joined Rio Tinto in 2013 and had been Managing Director of Marine and Vice President of Iron Ore Sales and Marketing.

“Appointing Bold to run our Energy & Minerals business will add a fresh perspective to the product group,” said J-S Jacques, Rio Tinto’s CEO. “Bold brings broad international and executive experience in a wide range of commercial disciplines. He has a proven track record and will be a great addition to our executive committee, particularly with his strong strategic approach and acute understanding of Asia.”

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