Located on the coast of south-central Brazil, BHP Billiton Samarco is working to deliver sustainable biodiversity outcomes for turtle populations through a review of the lighting arrangements at port operations.
The sea turtles’ egg-laying process is delicate, requiring specific conditions for the turtles to leave the sea, lay their eggs in the sand and safely return to the water. Artificial lighting can impact the breeding process by disorientating mothers and hatchlings, interfering with migration to and from the sea and endangering their survival.
In 2010, the team at Samarco began monitoring and reducing the amount of light from their operations impacting the turtles’ breeding areas. They removed lights on the beach adjacent to the port operations, lowered light towers at the stockyard and reduced bulb count and wattage. These changes resulted in a 60 per cent increase in the number of nests during the 2013–2014 season. The actions taken to modernise, replace and adapt equipment led to the construction of new lighting projects that not only benefited the turtles but also improved energy efficiency, safety at the stockyards and port.