BHP turns 130

BHP Billiton is celebrating 130 years of history.
BHP turns 130 BHP turns 130 BHP turns 130 BHP turns 130 BHP turns 130

South Australia's Olympic Dam polymetallic mine is one of BHP Billiton's prime assets.

Mining Monthly Magazine

From humble beginnings in Broken Hill, New South Wales, to the global mining powerhouse it is today, BHP Billiton’s empire is one of the world’s largest and most iconic.

Formed in 1885, BHP was known as Broken Hill Proprietary until it merged with mining company Billiton in 2001.

The company then stretched across the world and maintained a vast commodities portfolio until it restructured in May this year, leading to the demerger of South 32.

BHP now operates in eight countries and has four key pillars including coal, copper, iron ore and petroleum, and a potential fifth in potash.

Celebrating the company’s anniversary yesterday, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie reflected on its beginnings, achievements, and contributions to the Australian economy, which totalled $27 billion in the last financial year.

“From humble beginnings mining silver and lead at Broken Hill and tin at Billiton (Belitung) island, Indonesia, in the mid-1800s, it has been a long journey to becoming the world’s largest diversified resources company,” he said.

“We have been part of iconic events that have shaped the nation, such as providing steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and being part of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation which produced the first military aircraft in Australia. 

“These events show BHP Billiton’s ability to rise to a challenge and apply technical expertise to achieve great things – traits that remain part of our culture today.

“We are proud of our long history in Australia, and the contribution we make, and will continue to make, to this country and beyond for decades to come.”

BHP Billiton also contributed $US59.5 million through voluntary community investment to support social and environmental programs, and the BHP Billiton Foundation committed $A55 million to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outcomes across Australia.

The video Beyond the Surface captures more of the company’s history, with commentary by Australian mining historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey.