The bushfires, which last week disrupted supply and production to major coal mines around the state, also damaged homes and impacted communities around the mining operations.
“BHP Billiton has had a long relationship with communities in New South Wales, where two of our core coal assets are based,” BHP Billiton Coal president Dean Dalla Valle said.
“We hope this donation will assist Red Cross in helping the communities that have been affected by the bushfires in the region.”
As well as the $500,000 donation, BHP Billiton will donate $2 for every $1 donated by an employee through its matched giving program.
BHP Billiton, which has approximately 4130 employees and contractors in NSW, owns the Illawarra Coal metallurgical coal operations, the Mt Arthur Coal mine in the Hunter Valley and the Caroona coal project near Quirindi.
While the bushfire emergency has subsided for the time being with drenching rains, the job of rebuilding devastated homes and community buildings has just begun.
Last week’s bushfire destroyed almost 300 homes and ravaged tens of thousands of hectares of bushland especially in the Lithgow and Hunter Valley areas.
The NSW government also warned to expect further bushfire incidents this summer after a dry winter and unseasonably hot northwesterly winds.
Many coal mines are close to bushland with vital supply corridors such as the Pacific Highway to the north, the Princes Highway to the south and the Bells Line of Road to the west vulnerable to further bushfire activity.