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130 years of BHP Billiton

Published by
World Coal,

BHP Billiton celebrates its 130 year anniversary. It was formed in 1885 when a rich silver and lead deposit was discovered by Charles Rasp on a rocky outcrop known as the 'Broken Hill' in western New South Wales. Following the demerger of South32 in 2015, the company now has four key pillars, including coal, copper, iron ore and petroleum and a potential fifth in potash, with core operations in eight countries.

The company is reflecting on the long history that has shaped BHP. Andrew Mackenzie, CEO BHP, commented: "It’s not often that we get the opportunity to stop and take a look at where we have come from, but history has a lot to teach us. From humble beginnings mining silver and lead at Broken Hill and tin at Billiton (Belitung) island, Indonesia, in the mid-1800s, it has been a long journey to becoming the world’s largest diversified resources company.”

Mackenzie continued: "We have been part of iconic events that have shaped the nation, such as providing steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and being part of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, which produced the first military aircraft in Australia. These events show BHP Billiton’s ability to rise to a challenge and apply technical expertise to achieve great things – traits that remain part of our culture today."

Mackenzie believes this milestone highlights the contribution the company has made to the Australian economy. It contributed AUS$27 billion to the economy last year in payments to suppliers, wages and employee benefits, divdends, taxes and royalities. As well as US$59.5 million million through voluntary community investment to support social and environmental programs, and the BHP Billiton Foundation committed A$55 million to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outcomes across Australia.

The video, Beyond the Surface, capturing the Company’s history and with commentary by renowned Australian mining historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, is available here.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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