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BHP: Building A Better World

The demand for green energy has seen a vital increase over the last few decades, as companies worldwide take on the responsibility to reduce emissions and build infrastructure better suited for a carbon-neutral society. However, many of these vital infrastructural developments, including the development of renewable energy, electric vehicles and sustainable farming, require mined metals and minerals. This a tricky balance to play for companies, who seek to drive the world towards the energy transition whilst also participating in the necessary mining activities required to source such resources like copper, nickel and iron. However, companies like BHP are world leaders in these resources but operate with a key focus on building a better and cleaner future to support the renewable energy industry and the planet.  

 

BHP is a world-leading mining company, which produces iron ore, copper, metallurgical coal and nickel, as well as potash. Its operations span the globe and include a complex portfolio of large, long-life quality assets which are focused on delivering value as well as sustainability. BHP is focused on the need for decarbonisation efforts to take effect immediately, so have established themselves as a responsible body that manages commodities which are vital in the development of a renewable energy future.   

To understand the valuable role BHP plays we must understand the role of each of the metals and minerals which they mine and the role they play in energy transition targets. Iron ore and metallurgical steel are vital for the development of global infrastructure, and so are crucial resources needed to support the future implementation of renewable energy on an infrastructural level. Copper and nickel also play a vital role in making renewable energy possible, with copper covering the vast majority of electrical wiring. Nickel is a prominent metal used in the development of rechargeable batteries which are used in electric vehicles worldwide.  

A crucial aspect of development for BHP in recent years has been towards potash, which is utilised across the agriculture industry to see higher crop yields which contribute to the production of biofuel on an international scale. Therefore, these metals and minerals are crucial throughout all of BHP’s work to ensure that their mining, processing and transportation services for these products are always working towards the betterment of the future of the planet.  

BHP manages some of the world’s most resilient long-term portfolio assets which continue to grow in value thanks to the company’s discovery explorations, development of resources and acquisition of assets. Across its array of assets and mine operations, BHP develops and implements mining operations and then oversees the processing and refinement of ore before it transports these resources to customers. In addition to the mining, processing and logistical movement of the resources, BHP also focuses on waste management to ensure that its environmental impact on the planet remains at a consistent minimum.  

Whilst the mining and transport of its ore play a vital role, BHP is also heavily involved in the sales, marketing and procurement of assets to bring continued investment and expertise into the mining sector. It achieves this through a close understanding of the markets, customers and suppliers’ needs. By close attention to global mega-trends, BHP can cater its operations and acquisitions to seek out the most vital and profitable assets which will contribute greatly to the renewable energy transition.  

Australia is a key site of operations for BHP with assets covering metallurgical and energy coal, iron ore, nickel and copper operations spanning the entire country. In Western Australia, BHP has the West Musgrave Project which covers the Nebo and Babel nickel-copper deposits, as well as the Succoth copper deposit. The project has an expected mine life of 26 years, with a proposed ore production rate of 10-14 Mtpa. Also in western Australia is BHP’s Nickel West operation which is part of its Minerals Australia business. Nickel West covers a variety of locations across traditional lands with a fully integrated mine-to-market operation spanning both open-cut and underground mines, as well as concentrators, a smelter and a refinery all within the complex. The asset is a crucial driver for renewable energy markets for BHP with 85% of its nickel being sold to battery suppliers across the world.  

Whilst BHP develops vital metal production at Nickel West, part of the company’s mission is to make its operations just that little bit more sustainable. Therefore, BHP has been implementing a range of sustainable projects aimed at improving the overall impact of the complex’s operations on the region. These projects include the Northern Goldfields Solar Farm and BESS Project with Tansalta, which incorporated two solar farms and a battery energy storage solution. The project aims to support the mine and concentrators needs of the Nickel West complex.  

The Goldfield Solar Farm began construction in 2021 and built upon the existing Merredin Solar Farm which was a power purchase for BHP in agreement with western Australia’s largest solar farm. Then in 2022, BHP announced another power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm which once completed will power the Kalgoorlie Smelter and Kambalda Concentrator on the Nickel West Complex. This investment in utilising renewable energy across BHP’s operations shows the company’s commitment to mitigating its environmental impact on the planet as much as possible.   

In Queensland, BHP mines metallurgical coal across 7 assets in the Central Queensland Bowen Basin. The asset is owned in a 50:50 partnership with Mitsubishi Development, and is regarded to be one of Australia’s largest producers and suppliers of seaborne metallurgical coal. The site includes the Hay Point Coal Terminal which can handle more than 55 million tonnes of coal which the mine exports every year. In addition to BHP’s operations in the coal industry in Queensland, BHP also operates the Mt Arthur Coal Mine in New South Wales which produces coal products for an international customer base across the energy sector.  

As BHP look towards the future, along with the rest of the world, it is hoping to significantly cut its carbon emissions by 2030, and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions (including both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions) across its operated assets by 2050. By working with its partners in the steel and maritime industry, BHP hopes to reduce its emissions across its BHP-chartered shipping operations for BHP products by 40%. To achieve this it is working with key stakeholders, and is backed by US$400 million in investments from its Climate Investment Program to significantly improve the low carbon steel making and low-emission technologies of the future.  

With BHP you can feel throughout every operation a need and drive to make real change in the world. Through the acquisition, operations and development of BHP’s long-life assets continue to play a crucial role in developing the world towards a more sustainable future. Therefore, BHP’s goal to bring people and resources together has been largely successful and has built a steady foundation ready to meet the renewable demands of the future.  

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