BHP Billiton and Northam Platinum mine jointly renovate school in the Limpopo province

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest diversified resources company, through its development trust and Northam Platinum have joined forces to renovate a primary school in the Limpopo province, known as the Chrome Mine Primary School.

The two companies spent R500 000 to renovate the administration block, classrooms, a computer room and ablutions facilities. The project forms part of BHP Billiton’s Zwartkop Chrome mine’s R9.6 million closure and community rehabilitation programme. Northam, which draws some 25% of its employees from the Limpopo Province, has been involved in upliftment projects in the area for a number of years, and has previously established a clinic in the village in an effort to make health care more accessible.

Mr Matthews Nzimande and BHP Billiton’s Syd AbsolomMr Matthews Nzimande and BHP Billiton’s Syd Absolom
at the school launch

“Our ongoing development work with the community has seen the completion of a successful ground water development project; school refurbishment; and the provision of teaching aids for a couple other schools in the area, including mini libraries and a mini laboratory,” says Syd Absolom, VP of mineral resources, Stainless Steel Materials at BHP Billiton. “Most importantly, we have focused on whole school development, paving the way for skills development for teachers, student leaders, and school governing bodies. We have also worked with the community and the local high school to introduce a Matric enhancement programme. Local labour was used in the rehabilitation. The greater school development programme, which included another site, was conducted by a BEE company from outside the region.”

Matthews Nzimande, GM of Northam, says: “It is important that we do not lose sight of our responsibilities to the communities in which we operate. This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved in remote communities when businesses work together and in partnership with the authorities, and where joint involvement can really add the critical mass in delivering sustainable and value-adding social upliftment.”

The project was completed in consultation with the communities of the farms Schilpadsnest, Vlakpoort, and Zwartkop, on which the mine was situated.

BBDT implements, co-ordinates and manages the sustainable development initiatives of BHP Billiton and BHP Billiton companies and operations including Samancor Manganese, Ingwe Coal and BHP Billiton Aluminium, which participate in the trust. BHP Billiton allocates 1% of pre-tax profits to corporate responsibility projects, based on a three-year rolling average. Expenditure on projects for the year ended 30 June 2006 is valued at over R65 million. The funds are applied in four main categories: education and training, capacity building, socio-economic development and healthcare.

Chromite school choirChromite school choir

Background:

The school project forms the social responsibility part of the regional rehabilitation project, which has also resulted in the re-establishment of sustainable land use over an area of 600 hectares. It is now estimated that ongoing use of the area will generate R3 million worth of economic benefit over the next 20 years, while the land itself is valued at almost R1 million. After the mine was closed, ownership of the land was restored to the local community following a 2003 land claims court action that was unopposed by BHP Billiton. The resources company made access to the site – and its rehabilitation – a condition of the restitution, and concluded a rehabilitation agreement with the Baphalane Community.

About BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton is the world’s largest diversified natural resources company, with some 37,000 employees across 100 operations in approximately 25 countries. Its operations encompass a broad range of commodities including aluminium, energy coal, metallurgical coal, copper, manganese, iron ore, uranium, nickel, diamonds, silver, titanium minerals, oil, gas, and liquefied natural gas.

In the year ended 30 June 2006, BHP Billiton generated turnover of US$39.1 billion, and attributable profit of US$10.2 billion.

BHP Billiton is dual listed on both the Australian and London stock exchanges, with headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. It has secondary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (through ADRs).

Further information on BHP Billiton can be found on our Internet site: www.bhpbilliton.com

Media Contact:


South Africa

Bronwyn Wilkinson
Tel: +27 11 376 2154
Mobile: +27 82 419 8236
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About Northam Platinum

Northam Platinum Limited, a broadly based black empowerment company, wholly owns and operates the Northam Platinum mine near Thabazimbi in the Limpopo Province. Northam’s corporate social investment initiatives are aligned with the Integrated Development Plans of the local municipalities. These initiatives are focused on setting a foundation for economic growth in the area.

Over a number of years Northam has developed constructive and supportive relationships with targeted schools in the area, allocating time, funding and resources to upgrade educational facilities.

In 2006 Northam produced 361 599 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (3PGE+Au). Within the Northam lease, area reserves are measured at 12.7 Moz within a total resource base of 17.4 Moz.

For further information on Northam Platinum, visit the website at www.northam.co.za

Media Contact:

Zenzele Bam
Tel: +27 11 880 3924
Mobile: +27 82 428 1690
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