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Mining giant’s profit up 90 per cent despite workplace tragedies

BHP staff
BHP staff

An Anglo-Australian multinational mining company has reported a major jump in profit for the second half of 2018, a period marred with death and accidents.

BHP recently reported a profit of US$3.8 billion (A$5.5 billion), representing a 90 per cent jump on the previous half-year’s US$2 billion profit (A$2.8 billion). The company confirmed the gain was due to the resolution of a number of global tax matters, which were partly offset by losses incurred by the 2015 Samarco dam failure in Brazil.

“The collapse of the Brumadinho dam in Brazil is a tragedy and we offer our heartfelt sympathy to all those affected,” BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said in a public statement. “At BHP, we are committed to learn from what happened, and as an industry we must redouble our efforts to make sure events like this cannot happen.”

The company also paid its respects to the family and friends of Allan Houston who died on December 31 while operating a bulldozer.

“As part of its commitment to safety BMA will conduct an internal investigation as a priority,” the company said. “BMA is committed to sharing the findings in a thorough and transparent manner when completed.”

According to BHP its total recordable injury frequency was 4.3 per million hours worked for the first half of the 2019 financial year, representing a 2 per cent decrease compared to 30 June 2018. The frequency rate for high potential injuries, which are injury events where there was the potential for a fatality, also dropped by 25 per cent.

“We are determined to become safer through the redesign of our work and increased application of technology to eliminate hazards, while improving our awareness through leadership engagement in the field,” the company said in a statement. “Proactive hazard reporting from the workforce and in-field safety leadership engagements increased significantly in the December 2018 half year.”

The company also recorded a US$460 million drop in productivity as a result of unplanned production outages at Olympic Dam in August 2018 and a Western Australia Iron Ore train derailment in November 2018.

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