The company’s Western Australian iron ore (WAIO) division lodged a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of its iron ore assets, which provides an overview of the regional environmental footprint of all current and future operations.
WAIO asset president Edgar Basto said BHP was proud to be the first mining company to use its environmental knowledge to prepare and submit an SEA.
“The SEA provides greater visibility of our potential environmental footprint over the next 50 to 100 years, improving our ability, as well as the government and others in the industry, to plan for future operations,” he said.
“It outlines where we may develop in the future so any potential impacts on the environment can be assessed and adequately managed for future generations.”
Basto said the company would still be required to obtain necessary approvals for individual projects, but the SEA took a look at the company’s environmental plan over the long-term in a more considered and complete way.
“Previously, we worked through the approval process for individual projects in isolation. We can now look at how future developments may interact and think about what we need to do to manage any impacts in advance,” he said.
“It gives the company, industry, the community and regulators a more comprehensive understanding of the region, which ultimately helps everyone to more effectively manage our natural resources.
“It’s about being transparent in our future plans and recognising that environmental impacts are not confined to one particular mining project and should be looked at more holistically.”
The SEA will be made public and open for comment from today.
BHP does not have any current expansion plans in WAIO.
“We expect to continue to mine in the region for more than 100 years, which enables us to give back to the communities that have supported us for so long,” Basto said.
“The SEA demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Pilbara and our host communities over the long-term.”
The SEA will be submitted to both the federal and WA governments.