BHP Billiton’s $4 million investment in a sustainability program has paid off, with the discovery of over 700 new native species Australia-wide.
BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities is part of the Bush Blitz program, a species discovery partnership between the Commonwealth Government, BHP and Earthwatch Australia.
The program has found around 700 new species since its launch in 2010, and will this week document their discoveries.
They include 272 species of true bugs, 130 species of spiders and scorpions, 36 species of bees and 11 species of vascular plants.
The 21st Bush Blitz, which kicked off on 26 May in the eastern Kimberley on the Aboriginal owned Karunjie and Durack stations, has already discovered what are believed to be many new species, including new true bugs, spiders, a fish and psuedoscorpions.
BHP said Traditional Owners and teachers are participating in the program, as well as a number of scientists.
BHP Billiton President - HSE, marketing and technology, Mike Henry, said the company was committed to supporting the program.
“Supporting biodiversity is important to us – we do this at BHP Billiton mine sites through our land management practices and through our contribution to programs such as Bush Blitz which are leading to a greater understanding of the unique biodiversity values found in Australia,” Henry said.
“I am really excited for everyone taking part in the program, particularly the Traditional Owners and teachers who are playing a key role in the Kimberley Blitz.”
Since 2010, 43 BHP employees have taken part in seven Bush Blitz expeditions.
The miner has pledged $13.4 million for conservation and ongoing management of around 11 000 hectares of land in Tasmania.
The land, near Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair includes old growth forests, wild rivers, and alpine wetlands, BHP said.