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BHP, in making health and safety a priority, has joined forces with Rocky Mountain Institute and Pattern Development to repurpose closed mine sites for renewable energy production in New Mexico and Arizona.
Pattern Development, an independent renewable power company, has signed land options and prepared more detailed engineering to develop solar plants and storage facilities at two former mining sites.
Large-scale solar photovoltaic generating facilities will be built on the brownfield land at the former Ambrosia Lake mining site in northwestern New Mexico and the former San Manuel plant site in southern Arizona, where BHP used to operate.
BHP’s head of closed sites Marny Reakes said, “Our vision is not only to reclaim legacy sites and address environmental impacts, but also to find ways to repurpose them for long-term community benefit.”
BHP and Rocky Mountain Institute are seeking partnerships with new industries that might benefit from the renewable energy production.
BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal has also launched efforts to increase workers’ safety through the high risk period of Christmas and school holiday at the Poitrel coal mine in central Queensland.
The miner has introduced a range of wristbands, called ‘nudgies’, to nudge wearers to think about safety, where many may become distracted between October and January.
Nudgies will trigger automatic cognitive processes that make it more likely for an individual to make a particular choice. It uses the principles of behavioural science and political theory and economics.
BHP’s manager of mine production at Poitrel Jayson Smeeton said, “To create the ‘nudge’ we have created four safety slogans printed on wristbands which will be given to all production operators at the start of each month.
“Bands are to be worn on the left hand to ‘nudge’ the thinking of giving away to their left. This comes from the priority rules nudge theory.”
In the mental health sphere, BHP has been acknowledged with the Ima Hogg Award from Mental Health America of Greater Houston.
The award recognises BHP’s efforts in fostering an open culture where employees feel safe, valued and supported following the disaster of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
BHP’s president petroleum Steve Pastor said the company focused on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
“Those are the kinds of things that we know if we create an environment that is genuinely and caringly focused on those things, it helps all of our people thrive,” Pastor said.
“There’s nothing more important in the world than helping folks live happier, healthier lives.”