Rebuilding helps speed recovery

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On 27 February 2010, an earthquake registering 8.8 on the Richter scale rocked Chile’s Central-South Region, leaving almost 2 million victims and damaging nearly 500,000 homes.

BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC) contributed US$1.5 million to the Chilean earthquake relief not-for-profit organisation Foundation Un Techo para Chile, and our Chilean operation, Minera Escondida, contributed a further US$1.5 million to relief efforts.

Just 63 kilometres from the epicentre, in the city of Cauquenes, the public school, Liceo Claudina Urrutia de Lavín, was severely damaged. In March 2010, Minera Escondida approached the school’s administration with a proposal for a joint design and construction of an all-new educational facility to completely replace the destroyed former structure, and to become an attractive community meeting place, restoring a sense of pride to the inhabitants of the city of Cauquenes. Minera Escondida also helped to rebuild Liceo Mariano Latorre, a public school in the city of Curanilahue.

Both schools were well known to our Chilean operations, as they form part of a network of leading public schools being assisted by Fundación Chile, one of the nation’s foremost technology transfer institutions. The Minera Escondida Foundation has been a part of this program since 2008.

This project is unique in its design and incorporates leading edge architecture for an eco-friendly construction that meets LEED certification standards. Its design has been influenced in part by consultations with members of the school community and local residents. More than 20 technical round tables were held with each of the schools’ Boards, teachers, students, the local community, and local and regional governmental authorities. This allowed developers to include the elements needed to facilitate the establishment’s own style of educational delivery.

In addition, to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new infrastructure, the school construction process received advisory and technical assistance from Fundación Chile, primarily aimed at strengthening support for the teaching systems and management capacities of the administrative teams.

Read more on our community investment activities in the BHP Billiton Community Review (PDF 3.6 MB)

Timing Investment

2010 - 2013

US$3 million