has announced support for the Five Rivers Conservation Project, located near Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair in Tasmania.
The Company, in its recently released Sustainability Report, announced a target to conserve areas of high biodiversity and ecosystem value that are of national or international conservation significance. A key initiative towards this target is funding for the Five Rivers Conservation Project in Tasmania. The project will finance the conservation and ongoing management of approximately 11,000 hectares of land in Tasmania, Australia.
The land to be conserved and managed features old growth rainforest, wild rivers, and alpine wetlands including habitat to a number of endangered species. It is immediately adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and shares similar land values.
The project is a collaboration among three organisations: BHP Billiton which will provide funding to secure permanent conservation status for the land and an endowment for ongoing management of the property; Conservation International which will provide oversight and guidance to local/regional partners and will also serve as strategic advisor; and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy which will implement the required actions to ensure the conservation area is established and managed for conservation.
The initial investment by BHP Billiton is approximately US$1 million. This is necessary for near term conservation management of the property during which time a study of the potential to generate carbon credits will be conducted. Any carbon-based revenues will be used to enhance the ongoing conservation activities. BHP Billiton will then finance the long-term endowment.
Lucas Dow, Head of Group Health, Safety, Environment and Community commented: “We are committed to operating sustainably – it is one of Our Charter values at BHP Billiton.
“This project is hugely significant in Australia, where BHP Billiton is headquartered and where sizeable mining operations exist. We think deeply about the ways in which we are connected to the communities and environments in the regions in which we operate and we believe this project reinforces our connection with the Australian region. We will continue to identify projects of this calibre, in Australia and elsewhere, to help us achieve our targets.”
He added that this target is in addition to each business being required to develop dedicated management plans, including controls to prevent, minimise, rehabilitate and offset impacts to biodiversity and the related benefits derived from ecosystems.
Jennifer Morris, Executive Vice President of Ecosystem Finance and Markets at Conservation International said: “We are pleased to be playing such an important role in the launch of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s Five Rivers Conservation Project.
"This project exemplifies the efforts made through the Conservation International and BHP Billiton alliance, which is to achieve permanent and sustainable conservation results in regions important for biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being.”
Jane Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer of TLC said: "We are thrilled to be part of this global partnership which is a big step towards achieving the TLC's vision for Tasmania to be a world leader in nature conservation and sustainability."
"The Five Rivers project is globally significant because it truly manages this very important area for conservation at a landscape scale."
This project is part of a larger, global alliance between BHP Billiton and Conservation International that will support BHP Billiton’s conservation goals and represents part of its commitment to invest one per cent of its pre-tax profit, on a three year rolling average, in community programs that aim to have a long-lasting positive impact on people’s quality of life.