Damage to an artefact scatter at Sandfire's Monty copper mine, 900 kilometres (559 miles) north east of Perth, occurred in 2017 and 2018 due to a series of process failures during the construction of a satellite mine, Sandfire said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

"Sandfire prides itself on being a values based organisation and we are extremely sorry to have disturbed artefact scatter within the Monty mining lease during construction and mining activities," Chief Executive Brendan Harris said.

"Our local communities are of critical importance to us and we will work hard to rebuild our relationship with the Traditional Owners."

Sandfire's statement comes as investors and automakers are increasingly scrutinising human rights and heritage protection in their assessments of Australian mines, even as Western Australia overturned Aboriginal cultural heritage protection laws earlier this year due to opposition from landowners.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Miral Fahmy)