Australia’s biggest mining companies have joined forces to fight the unprecedented bushfires currently burning across the country and to prevent future reoccurrences of similar or greater magnitude.
Hot on the heels of Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest’s $70 million donation, a new ‘bushfire prevention’ consortium has been formed by Australian mining companies BHP Billiton, Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Chalco, Alcan and Xstrata.
In a joint media statement, the companies announced the creation of a Fire Trust Fund, with each company contributing $100 million per annum to the enterprise, making it one of the largest ongoing trust funds in the country.
Monies from the fund will be made available to Australians experiencing hardship as a result of the catastrophic bushfires but a significant component will be used to help rebuild the flora and fauna so terribly decimated by these fires.
“We’ll be partnering with well-established environmental agencies able to set up programs to deliver long-term, sustainable improvements,” says the consortium spokesperson. “This will include buying up lands for national parks to revegetate and repopulate with animals native to the area.
“This country has made our mining companies some of the most powerful entities in the world and we recognise and appreciate that. It’s time for us to give back and we’ve committed to a series of sweeping changes to achieve a better outcome for our planet.”
Along with contributing to already established bushfire relief programs, the consortium will set aside 50 per cent of their funds for prevention initiatives. This will include contributing significant ongoing funding to Griffith University's Climate Change Response Program, which has been leading global climate change research since 2007.
“The administrative running costs of all consortium activities will be picked up by the companies themselves, allowing 100 per cent of all trust monies to go where they’re needed most,” says the spokesperson, noting the consortium would also be pursuing options to shift their income base from traditional mining to the immediate implementation of cleaner fuel sources across Australia and the world.
“We share the blame for the current climate issues and have profited for years without fully understanding the impact our industry was having on the environment, as well as the roll-on effect as the natural resources we mine were put to use globally.
“However with climate change clearly upon us, Australia’s mining industry will not wait for government to act, taking it upon ourselves to become part of the solution needed so urgently to ensure survival of the planet.”
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