Rio Tinto says it will be shutting down its 16 year-old fund supporting projects fighting indigenous social disadvantage in Australia.
The fund channelled $1.8 million a year into innovative new projects, and its closure was met with dismay by some indigenous leaders.
Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairwoman Lowitja O'Donoghue, who directed the fund in the late 1990s, told Fairfax media she was sad to see the fund go.
"It's very sad, very disappointing, but I'd also say how much we appreciate what they have done over the years," she said.
"I just loved Rio Tinto in terms of what they were able to do."
Rio Tinto spokesperson Bruce Tobin told Fairfax Media the company was the nation's largest private sector employer of indigenous people.
He said the company would continue to spend around $100 million a year on indigenous issues, and the fund's closure only signalled a change in how support would be administered.
"In line with modern practice, Rio Tinto wants to move away from the philanthropic approach to the more desired model of directly supporting the indigenous communities in which it operates, ensuring better outcomes for Aboriginal men and women are linked to business success," he said.
Rio Tinto said in a statement the fund would close once it had completed its current commitments, and would be finished around the middle of next year.
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