Rio Tinto will cut the short-term bonuses of its chief executive and two other senior executives following a review of the company’s destruction of two ancient caves in Australia.

The world’s biggest iron ore miner destroyed two historically significant sacred caves, which sat on top of a high-grade ore body it planned to mine, in Western Australia state in May – against the wishes of Aboriginal traditional owners.

“The review found no single root cause or error that directly resulted in the destruction of the rock shelters,” Rio Tinto said on Monday.

“It was the result of a series of decisions, actions and omissions over an extended period of time.”

Rio Tinto detonated explosives in an area of the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara, destroying two ancient deep-time rock shelters, much to the distress of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.

Rio Tinto has now reduced the short-term bonuses of CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques, chief executive of Iron Ore Chris Salisbury and group executive, corporate relations, Simone Niven in 2020 by about $US3.7 million ($A5.2 million) in total.

Jacques’ 2016 long-term incentive plan award, due in the first half of next year, will also be reduced by about STG1 million ($US1.3 million or $A1.8 million).

Rio Tinto said it would provide more details on the bonus cuts in its 2020 remuneration report.