BHP, Rio Tinto donate $3.5m to flood relief

Australia’s major miners have moved quickly to support emergency relief efforts for those impacted by the floods in Queensland and New South Wales. 

The BHP Foundation has announced it will donate $2 million to the Australian Red Cross, while Rio Tinto donated $1.5 million to disaster relief and recovery efforts supporting people affected by the widespread floods. 

Rio Tinto will donate $750,000 to the Australian Red Cross’ Floods Appeal, $500,000 to BizRebuild and $250,000 to Givit. 

BizRebuild is a Business Council of Australia initiative that provides practical and on the ground assistance to small and local businesses devastated by natural disasters, and Givit is a grassroots charity buying and delivering essential items for people affected by the floods.  

To date, the floods along the east coast of Australia have seen over 30,000 houses flooded in Queensland and 34,000 evacuations. 

As the floods are extending south into NSW, over 500,000 people are on flood warnings or evacuation orders. 

Access, road closures and infrastructure damage is extensive, making rescue efforts problematic, and interruption to supply chains is impacting supplies of food and essential items to affected areas. 

The donations to the Australian Red Cross will help it continue to provide immediate support through evacuation centres, communications, essential supplies (drinking water, food, and clothing), water/sewage treatment, access to power/internet and cleaning supplies. 

It will also support longer-term recovery programs which recognise the cumulative effect the multiple recent disasters including the bushfires, COVID-19 and the floods has had on the community’s psychosocial and economic health. 

The floods in eastern Australia have also disrupted port schedules impacting coal exports in the regions. 

Queensland’s Port of Brisbane was closed effective immediately on February 28 due to the flooding in the city to ensure safety, with vessels resuming on a restricted basis on March 3. 

The latest update (March 6) stated that while river levels continue to improve, port restrictions will remain. 

The Port of Brisbane is the smallest of Queensland’s coal export terminals as New Hope’s New Acland coal mine continues its campaigning for Stage 3 approvals. 

In NSW, heavy rainfall has affected the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and South Coast, with it expected to continue through today. 

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