Juukan Gorge Aboriginal rock shelters blasted by Rio Tinto.

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Carved gently into the Hamersley Ranges in Western Australia’s Pilbara Region, runs Juukan Gorge. It’s a place with an ancient human history, a place that’s held signs and stories of the world’s oldest living culture for more than 46,000 years.

In 2014, archeological excavations of rock shelters there found several Aboriginal artefacts, including grinding and pounding stones, a 28,000-year-old marsupial bone tool and a 4,000-year-old belt made from plaited human hair — hair that belonged to the ancestors of today’s Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura traditional owners.

On Sunday, a series of quick-fire booms echoed through this sacred place, as mining giant Rio Tinto detonated strategically placed charges at its Brockman 4 mine.

Within seconds, the Juukan 1 and 2 shelters were destroyed; rattled by a company that sees the place’s richness not in its ancient story, but in the…

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