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Celebrating 130 Years of History

BHP Billiton is today celebrating the 130 year anniversary of the incorporation of BHP and its significant contribution to the Australian economy and society for more than a century.

BHP was formed in 1885 after a rich silver and lead deposit was discovered by Charles Rasp on a rocky outcrop known as the 'Broken Hill' in western New South Wales two years earlier.  

BHP Billiton CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, said the milestone was an opportunity to reflect on the Company’s long history and events that shaped its culture.

"It’s not often that we get the opportunity to stop and take a look at where we have come from, but history has a lot to teach us," he said.

"From humble beginnings mining silver and lead at Broken Hill and tin at Billiton (Belitung) island, Indonesia, in the mid-1800s, it has been a long journey to becoming the world’s largest diversified resources company.

"We have been part of iconic events that have shaped the nation, such as providing steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and being part of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation which produced the first military aircraft in Australia. 

"These events show BHP Billiton’s ability to rise to a challenge and apply technical expertise to achieve great things – traits that remain part of our culture today."

Mr Mackenzie said the anniversary highlighted the contribution that the Company continues to make in Australia.

Last financial year BHP Billiton contributed around A$27 billion to the Australian economy in payments to suppliers, wages and employee benefits, dividends, taxes and royalties.

In addition, BHP Billiton contributed US$59.5 million through voluntary community investment to support social and environmental programs, and the BHP Billiton Foundation committed A$55 million to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outcomes across Australia.

"We are proud of our long history in Australia, and the contribution we make, and will continue to make, to this country and beyond for decades to come," Mr Mackenzie said.

The video, Beyond the Surface, capturing the Company’s history and with commentary by renowned Australian mining historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, is available at:

From its early start in Broken Hill, BHP Billiton has grown to become one of the world’s largest producers of natural resources. Following the demerger of South32 in 2015, the Company now has four key pillars including coal, copper, iron ore and petroleum and a potential fifth in potash, with core operations in eight countries. 

BHP Billiton has an unrivalled portfolio of high quality growth opportunities which will ensure the Company continues to meet the changing needs of customers and the resources demand of emerging economies at every stage of their growth. 

For more information, please see our News Release.