BHP Billiton gets gold fish for environmental record

September 26, 2006

Friends of the Earth Adelaide will award mining company BHP Billiton the inaugural South Australian Blinky Award, in a red carpet ceremony which coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the first atomic bomb test at Maralinga. The Blinky, a three-eyed gold fish, is intended to draw attention to the massive environmental impacts of corporations, especially those involved in the mining and nuclear industries. The award ceremony will take place at 10.00am on Wednesday 27 September 2006, outside BHP Billiton’s offices, 55 Grenfell Street, Adelaide.

“Despite many contenders, Friends of the Earth Adelaide has the dubious honour of awarding BHP Billiton the inaugural Blinky Award,” said Friends of the Earth campaigner Joel Catchlove.

“BHP Billiton seems to think of itself as a 600-pound gorilla that can sit wherever it likes. However, with a growing awareness of climate change, we are seeing increasing global opposition to BHP Billiton’s attempts to impose its plans on unwilling communities. In California, Hollywood stars are leading a community campaign against BHP Billiton’s plans to build a polluting liquefied natural gas terminal; communities in New South Wales and Queensland are working to halt BHP Billiton’s plans to expand the coal industry; and across the country,  BHP Billiton’s colossal Roxby Downs uranium mine remains contentious,” said Mr. Catchlove.

“On this day fifty years ago, the British army conducted its first atomic bomb test at Maralinga in SA’s west. Some of the Indigenous communities that continue to suffer the legacy of radioactive fallout from the Maralinga tests are also impacted by the Roxby Downs Indenture Act. This Act grants BHP Billiton’s operations precedence over such crucial legislation as the Aboriginal Heritage Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act,” he said.

“BHP Billiton makes much of its commitment to ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ – we call upon BHP Billiton to put its money where its mouth is and relinquish the outrageous legal privileges it has under the Roxby Downs Indenture Act. Until BHP Billiton is subject to the same laws and responsibilities as everyone else in Australia, it is impossible to ensure their accountability,” Mr. Catchlove commented.

Community groups in Melbourne are also targeting BHP Billiton on Wednesday.

Photographic Opportunities: A mock black-tie award ceremony will be held outside BHP Billiton’s offices, 55 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, at 10.00am, Wednesday 27 September.

Joel Catchlove 0403 886 951