Our strategy is to set objectives and deliver optimised closure outcomes for our assets in consultation with local communities, Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders.
As stewards of the land on which we operate and members of the communities where we operate, we have a responsibility to leave a positive legacy for local communities, the environment and future land users. In line with our purpose and Our Charter, delivering optimised closure outcomes supports our commitment to social value and our aspiration to help to build a better world.
Our approach and position
Our intention is to set objectives and achieve optimised closure outcomes, through our closure management process, throughout the entire life cycle of an asset. Our closure management process is designed to integrate into planning, decision-making and implementation activities at appropriate stages during the life cycle. This process is set out in our mandatory minimum performance requirements for closure and considers social and environmental values, our obligations, safety, costs, risks (both threats and opportunities) and the expectations of external stakeholders and partners, including Indigenous peoples, to inform each asset’s closure strategy.
We continue to evolve our closure planning approach to seek to avoid or minimise adverse closure impacts on the surrounding environment and communities. We consider alternative closure options and opportunities for all assets, including ongoing management, alternative land uses for enduring environmental and social benefits (such as re-purposing the site or facilities), responsible divestment and relinquishment.
All assets develop a closure strategy that includes a financial assessment, designed to deliver optimised closure outcomes. We also require each asset-level strategy to include post-closure monitoring to verify control implementation and achievement and continuation of performance standards.
We regularly review our closure strategies and practices based on an evolving knowledge base, changes in risks and global industry leading practice. Subject-matter experts in our Resource Centre of Excellence facilitate a Group-wide closure working group to share this leading practice and leverage closure management knowledge and expertise. They also support continuous improvement in our closure business systems, develop and assure technical standards and enhance capability across BHP.
Governance and oversight
For information on the role of the BHP Board in overseeing our approach to and delivery on sustainability refer to the Sustainability approach webpage.
Post-closure risks, such as to biodiversity and water resources, can be complex and difficult to manage. One way we can better manage these risks is through our closure governance framework. This is designed to integrate the following elements throughout our assets’ life cycles:
- resource planning and development
- health, safety, environmental, community and social considerations
- stakeholder engagement
- risk management
- financial planning
The Resource Centre of Excellence leads closure governance, developing standards in mine planning, geotechnical management, tailings management, water management and closure management to enable effective integration across resource engineering disciplines and manage technical risks. In addition, the following standards set out closure requirements designed to avoid or minimise potential adverse impacts:
- The Our Requirements for Environment and Climate Change standard sets out requirements regarding environmental impacts and climate-related considerations, which also apply post-closure for sites retained by BHP.
- The Our Requirements for Community standard sets out requirements regarding social impacts on the communities where we operate and our contribution after closure to social development and enhancement in a sustainable manner.
Our Internal Audit team is responsible for providing independent and objective assurance over the control environment (governance, risk management and internal controls) to the Board and our Executive Leadership Team.
EngagementStakeholder and partner engagement is integral to the development of closure strategies. We also collaborate with international experts and participate in industry forums to share knowledge and benchmark our performance to enable our assets to employ leading practice in closure management. We actively participate in industry bodies focused on closure aspects, including the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Closure Working Group.
New South Wales Energy Coal
Following a review of available options, in June 2022, BHP announced it would retain New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) in its portfolio and seek the relevant approvals to continue mining beyond NSWEC’s current mining consent that expires in June 2026. This is part of a managed process to cease mining at the Mt Arthur Coal mine by the end of FY2030 and provide a pathway to closure for the operation that prioritises our NSWEC team, the surrounding communities, including Indigenous peoples, and sustainable rehabilitation and future land use opportunities.
We make financial provisions, subject to our internal controls and assurance, which support delivery of closure and post-closure commitments and optimised outcomes. BHP’s financial position, including provision for closure and rehabilitation, is set out in the BHP Annual Report 2023.
We apply our single, Group-wide Risk Framework to the management of risks, including closure risks. We use key risk indicators, set by senior management, to help monitor performance against BHP’s risk appetite.
We use the ‘three lines model’ of risk governance and management to define the roles of different teams across the organisation in managing risk. Our approach to closure risk management at our assets is aligned to our mandatory minimum performance requirements for risk management.
Information on our Risk Framework and three lines model is set out in the BHP Annual Report 2023, Operating and Financial Review 8 – How we manage risk.