​BHP pledges $6 million to ‘Bush Blitz’

BHP, in conjunction with the government and Earthwatch, has pledged $6 million to the second stage of Bush Blitz.

The program is focused on the discovery of unique Australian species.

BHP’s pledge will be matched by the Australian Government, will provide the program with $12 million; enough funding to run until 2017.

Dubbed “bush Blitz II’, the program will see expedition teams carry out flora and fauna surveys across Australia to deepen knowledge of the country’s unique animals and plants.

“Bush Blitz II will build on the success of the first stage of the program, which between 2010 and 2013 discovered more than 700 new species of plants and recorded more than 18 000 known species across 65 remote reserves across Australia,” the miner said.

BHP already committed $3.9 million to the first stage of the program, which brings its total investment in the program to almost $10 million.

This is not the first environmental program BHP has carried out in Australia.

Earlier this year it launched the Five Rivers Conservation Project to protect Tasmanian World Heritage areas.

The miner pledged $13.4 million for conservation and ongoing management of around 11 000 hectares of land in Tasmania.

The land, near Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair includes old growth forests, wild rivers, and alpine wetlands, BHP said.

Speaking on the recent Bush Blitz investment, BHP president of HSE, marketing, and technology Mike Henry said.

“BHP Billiton supports a range of initiatives around the world that make a positive contribution to the environment and benefit the broader community,” he said.

“This unique partnership combines BHP Billiton’s commitments to biodiversity, environment and the communities in which operate. That’s why we’ve extended our partnership with Bush Blitz by providing funding for the second phase of the program.

“The partnership reflects BHP Billiton’s community strategy – engagement, inclusiveness and participation. This is reflected in the passion and enthusiasm of our employees who volunteer on the expeditions, and then share their knowledge and insight with colleagues in the workplace.”

To date 43 BHP employees have participated in several expeditions, acting as research assistants in the field and support scientists.

Henry said “support of the Bush Blitz program was consistent with BHP Billiton’s target to conserve areas of high biodiversity and ecosystem value of national or international conservation significance”.

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