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Indigenous Peoples are critical partners and stakeholders in many of BHP Billiton’s operations both within Australia and around the world.

Many of our operations are located on or near lands traditionally owned by or under the customary use of Indigenous Peoples and the long-term nature of our operations allows us to establish long lasting relationships with these Indigenous communities. These relationships are based upon Our Charter value of respect, through which we seek meaningful engagement, trust and mutual benefit.

Through this experience we understand that Indigenous Peoples often have profound and special connections to, and identification with, lands and waters and that these are tied to their physical, spiritual, cultural and economic well-being.

We also understand Indigenous Peoples in many regions of the world have been historically disadvantaged and often still experience poverty and other forms of social exclusion. Through our engagement with Indigenous Peoples we seek to contribute to their sustainable long term economic empowerment, social development needs and cultural well-being.

Our Approach

We respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and acknowledge their right to maintain their culture, identity, traditions and customs.

We commit to the 2013 International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining. This frames our approach to engaging with Indigenous Peoples with respect to new operations or major capital projects that are located on lands traditionally owned by or under customary use of Indigenous Peoples and which are likely to have significant adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples. This commitment includes:

  • Undertaking participatory and inclusive social and environmental impact assessments.

  • Seeking to agree on and document engagement and consultation plans with potentially impacted Indigenous Peoples.

  • Working to obtain the consent of Indigenous Peoples to BHP Billiton activities consistent with the ICMM Position Statement.

This commitment will be satisfied through compliance with domestic laws or completion of host government regulatory processes where they are consistent with the objectives of the ICMM Position Statement as determined by the BHP Billiton Chief Legal Counsel.

Where the consent of Indigenous Peoples is not forthcoming despite the best efforts of all parties, in balancing the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples with the wider population, governments might determine that a project should proceed and specify the conditions that should apply. In such circumstances, BHP Billiton will determine whether it will remain involved with a project.

Consistent with the ICMM Position Statement, this BHP Billiton policy:

  • Applies to new operations or major capital projects for which approvals and permitting process have not commenced prior to May 2015;

  • Seeks consent processes which are based on good faith negotiation and which do not confer veto rights to individuals or sub-groups, nor require unanimous support from potentially impacted Indigenous Peoples unless legally mandated.

Through successful implementation of this policy BHP Billiton aims to be a partner of choice for Indigenous Peoples through which our relationships contribute to their economic, social and cultural empowerment.

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