field in sunshine

Planning the closure of assets

In recognition of the potentially significant social, environmental, climate and social risks associated with future closure of our operations, we are committed to integrating closure into our planning, decision-making and activities through entire life cycle of our operated assets.

BHP’s closure strategy is to deliver optimised closure outcomes for our operated assets in consultation with local communities and other stakeholders. 
 
We implement our strategy by following the closure management process, which is designed to integrate with our short- and long-term planning processes for operated assets. Our closure management process is set out in our mandatory minimum performance requirements for closure, which take into consideration our social and environmental values, obligations, safety, costs, risks (both threats and opportunities) and the expectations of external stakeholders to inform optimised closure outcomes.
As part of the closure management process, our operated assets must meet the following closure objectives:
  • comply with our obligations, legal requirements and BHP’s mandatory minimum performance requirements for closure
  • achieve safe and stable outcomes
  • manage risks (both threats and opportunities) effectively
  • meet approved target environmental outcomes by following the Our Requirements for Environment and Climate Change standard
  • progressively reduce obligations, including progressive closure of areas disturbed by our operational footprint
  • manage and optimise closure costs

All operated assets are required to develop a closure management plan, including a financial assessment, to deliver optimised closure outcomes. We apply BHP’s Risk Framework to our closure management process to identify and manage closure risks (both threats and opportunities) in our closure management plans. Our plans are also required to include post-closure monitoring to verify any controls implemented are effective, and performance standards are achieved and maintained after operations cease.

Stakeholder engagement is an integral requirement for the development of our closure management plans. We also require closure alternatives and opportunities to be considered for all operated assets, including ongoing management, alternative land uses (that may include re-purposing the site or re-purposing facilities from our operated assets for enduring environmental and social benefits), responsible divestment and relinquishment.

We regularly review our process to update our closure management plans and practices as required with knowledge obtained from on-site experience across BHP and leading practice from the global industry.  

Integration


Properly managing environmental risks, such as to biodiversity and water resources, following closure, can be a significant challenge to our industry. We require the Our Requirements for Environment and Climate Change standard to be followed as part of implementing key elements of the closure management process to seek to avoid or minimise potential adverse environmental impacts post-closure.

We also require the Our Requirements for Community standard to be followed to seek to avoid or minimise  potential adverse social impacts on the communities where we operate and help to continue to contribute after closure to social development and enhancement in a manner that is sustainable.

Additionally, closure governance  at a global level is located within  the BHP Resource Centre of Excellence. The Resource Centre of Excellence has developed standards across BHP in mine planning, geotechnical management, tailings management, water management and closure management, which are designed to   enable effective integration across key resource engineering disciplines.

Continuous Improvement


To leverage closure management knowledge and expertise across our global operations, the Resource Centre of Excellence collaboratively engages through our Group-wide closure working group. We apply continuous improvement to our approach to closure planning to seek to avoid or minimise closure legacy risks with potential adverse impacts on the surrounding environment and communities.

Subject matter experts at our Resource Centre of Excellence develop and assure our technical standards, share leading practice, enhance capability across the business, provide access to the latest research and support continuous improvement in our business systems. 

The Resource Centre of Excellence collaborates with international experts and participates in industry forums to share knowledge and benchmark performance to enable our operated assets to employ leading practice resource engineering. BHP actively participates in industry bodies focused on closure aspects, including the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Closure Working Group.

 

Our closure governance framework


Our governance framework for closure is designed to integrate resource planning and development; health, safety, environmental, community and social considerations; stakeholder engagement; risk management; financial planning; and assurance in the operational design throughout our operated assets’ life cycles.
 
Our Internal Audit  team periodically tests the effectiveness of the closure management plans at our operated assets, with findings provided to the Board’s Risk and Audit Committee.

We make financial provisions, subject to our internal controls and assurance, which support delivery of  closure and post-closure commitments. Information about BHP’s financial provisions related to rehabilitation and closure liabilities is available in our Annual Report 2021.

 

rehabilitated vegetation cattle gorge

Approaches to habitat restoration

The plants and animals native to the lands surrounding our operated assets are crucial to the health of local ecosystems as well as being culturally important to local communities, including Traditional Owners.

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Approaches to closure for offshore infrastructure

Every one of BHP’s operated assets interacts with the marine environment in some way during its operational lifecycle.

water

Griffin decommissioning

We are now planning for the safe and sustainable closure of the Griffin facilities, including pipelines, flowlines and subsea equipment.