BHP CEO returns to Broken Hill

International miner BHP has gone back to its roots with a donation of $5.7 million to the Broken Hill City Council.

The money donated by the BHP Billiton Foundation has been earmarked for the Living Museum and Perfect Light projects in Broken Hill, which was the first Australian town to be included on the National Heritage List, 12 months ago.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the company had an important shared history with the NSW town, with BHP recently celebrating 130th anniversary of the incorporation of the original Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited.

“As BHP Billiton has evolved, we have not forgotten our rich history and connection with Broken Hill. I am very proud to be here today to help the City celebrate its past, and prosper into the future,” he said.

“We are delighted to announce the donation which will fund the development of two key components of the Broken Hill City Council’s Living Museum and Perfect Light Project – the Broken Hill Archives and the Argent Street intersection ‘parklets’.

“These will enhance the City’s appeal to attract new visitors and help to create an ongoing legacy and sustainable foundation for the Broken Hill community.”

BHP will also provide funding for restoration of the BHP chimney, the last remnant of the original company office which was established in 1885.

“Broken Hill will always be integral to our history and indeed it has a special place in Australian history, it’s not hard to see why so many artists, performers and filmmakers choose this city for inspiration,” Mackenzie said in a speech in the town yesterday, The Australian reported.

“Broken Hill has a wonderful story to tell — the city has a rare depth of character in part because of its history but also due to its people, who with great strength have endured the hardships of the Australian outback and proudly embrace their home and believe it has much to offer.”

The town of Broken Hill was founded in 1888, approximately five years after the first mineral lease was pegged at the site, which became the largest deposit of lead, silver and zinc ever found.

The name Broken Hill came from the rocky outcrop of the deposit, which was given both to the town and to the company that started there.

Mayor of Broken Hill Wincen Cuy said he was not aware of a time that the CEO of BHP had visited the town, with the last big visit being chaiman James McNiell and other board members in 1983.

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