CASH SPLASH: BHP has set up a new community fund. Picture: Minerals Council of Australia
CASH SPLASH: BHP has set up a new community fund. Picture: Minerals Council of Australia

Mining giant’s $50m regional cash splash

REGIONAL communities will receive support from a new $50 million Vital Resources Fund being set up by BHP.

The funding bucket will be targeted at communities in the mining giant’s areas of operation, including the Bowen Basin.

It follows BHP’s commitment to deliver $100 million into small and local businesses by accelerating payments and reducing payment terms to seven days and to employ an extra 1500 people to support its Australian operations.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry said the fund would provide support in a range of areas such as health services and resilience building during this difficult time.

“We know COVID-19 will require a significant collective response from governments, businesses, communities and individuals across Australia. We are determined to play our part as we work through this challenge together,” Mr Henry said.

Spending will be focused on the regions surrounding BHP’s Australian operations, including the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, the Hunter Valley in NSW, Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and the Pilbara and Goldfields regions in Western Australia.

The company will work with relevant leaders and groups in the coming months to distribute funding according to local needs.

Anticipated areas of support include health networks, essential community services, mental health and resilience and rural and remote indigenous communities.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance asset president James Palmer said the Vital Resources Fund came in the wake of extraordinary challenges being faced by regional communities.

“We want them to know that we are here to lend a hand when they need it most,” Mr Palmer said.

“All of the steps we’re taking – setting up this fund, announcing almost 1000 more jobs, making it quicker and easier for our suppliers to get paid by BMA – are to help keep Queensland on its feet while we deal with the challenges that coronavirus has brought upon us all.”