BHP escalates coronavirus response across operations

Image: BHP

BHP has sped up its payments to suppliers and is on the path to recruiting 1500 new employees to fight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mining giant has not only reduced payments terms for small, local and Indigenous businesses from 30 days to seven days, but will also immediately pay outstanding invoices.

This is expected to deliver more than $100 million to BHP’s small business partners.

BHP also created a $6 million fund to pay for labour hire employees affected by the coronavirus that are not entitled to sick leave, as well as people who are quarantined after entering Australia.

“Our local and small business partners play a critical role in supporting our operations and our people, and we know this is a very difficult time for them,” BHP chief executive Mike Henry said.

“We must look out for each other as we manage through this together.”

BHP has also announced plans to hire 1500 people to support its operations nationwide.

The jobs will be offered as six-month contracts, with roles including machinery and production operators, truck and ancillary equipment drivers, excavator operators, diesel mechanics boilermakers, trade assistants, electricians, cleaners and in the warehouses.

The roles will maintain BHP’s iron ore, coal and copper operations in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

BHP could turn some of the jobs into permanent roles once the initial six-month term finishes and increase the number of jobs available.

“As part of BHP’s social distancing measures we are introducing more small teams with critical skills to work dynamically across different shifts,” BHP’s acting Minerals Australia president Edgar Basto said.

“The government has said that resources industry is vital in Australia’s response to the global pandemic. We are stepping up and providing jobs and contracts.”

BHP is also set to establish a $50 million vital resources fund to help support Australia’s regional communities in its areas of operation, which are facing a significant challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The spending will be focussed on the regions where BHP operates, including the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and the Pilbara and Goldfields regions of Western Australia.

This may contribute to health networks, community services and job training.