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Creating future value will require a very different approach to exploration. Identifying new deposits will be more difficult and expensive than in the past, but the rewards – if we get it right – will be correspondingly greater.

BHP is investing in geoscience excellence as a core skill and fundamental value driver for our business. Drawing on our petroleum liquids expertise, we have developed a systems approach to exploration that considers the whole earth system (tectonics, erosion, sedimentation, climate and more) in deep time, to determine where deposits are most likely to have formed. From this, we can determine which areas to target for further investigation and development.

This approach gives us more confidence in the potential of targeted areas, earlier, at lower cost. We have the potential to gain early mover advantage in undervalued regions, and better target our exploration and development spend to create value.

Driven by our Geoscience Centre of Excellence, the systems approach is already delivering results. We brought together an expert team of geoscientists from across our petroleum and copper assets, and reviewed our model for targeting copper exploration.

From approximately 3,000 land-based sedimentary basins worldwide identified by our Petroleum business, we have selected around 200 with potential to contain copper deposits, and determined which to further investigate. As further data is collected, the certainty of finding a significant deposit improves.

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