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BHP launches Tasmanian conservation project

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BHP Billiton has launched the Five Rivers Conservation Project to protect Tasmanian World Heritage areas.

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.

BHP's HSEC, marketing and technology president Mike Henry launched the project with Tasmanian Land Conservancy CEO Jan Hutchinson, in Melbourne.

“BHP Billiton is committed to operating sustainably – it is one of Our Charter values. Improving our management of land, enhancing biodiversity and contributing to enduring benefits is essential to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner,” Henry said.

“Over a three-year period, our investment of $13.4 million in the Fiver Rivers Conservation Project, will allow for secure, permanent conservation status for the land, and create an endowment for the long-term management of the property.

“This is our contribution to conserving this important area of national environmental heritage, in a way that complements our Australian presence and commitment to sustainability.”

He went on to state that "we acknowledge that the very nature of our operations means we will have impacts on the environment".

"So at every operation, regardless of location, it’s a core business requirement to implement Land and Biodiversity Management Plans that include controls to prevent, minimise, rehabilitate and offset, as appropriate, impacts to biodiversity – this is part of our public biodiversity target."

Jane Hutchinson welcomed BHP's conservation support.

"We congratulate BHP Billiton for their leadership in investing in long-term conservation management of an internationally significant area and encourage other corporations to follow their lead,”  Hutchinson said.

“This global partnership is a big step towards achieving our vision for Tasmania to be a world leader in nature conservation and sustainability. The Five Rivers Conservation Project is globally significant because it truly manages this very important area for conservation in the long term and at a landscape scale.”

The conservation area is habitat to a number of endangered species such as the Tasmanian Devil, Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle, spotted tail Quoll, and Miena cider gum.

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