BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) Q4 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Aug 16, 2016 • 08:00 am ET


BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) Q4 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Andrew Mackenzie

from December, despite those lower prices, and we have been able to continue to invest in our strong pipeline of growth opportunities. In line with our revised dividend policy, under the 50% payout ratio, the minimum dividend would be $0.08 per share. In recognition of the strong cash performance and the importance that we place on cash returns to our shareholders, the Board has determined an additional $0.06 per share to give us a final total dividend of $0.14 per share.

So, now to Samarco. Shortly after the tragic events at Samarco's iron ore operations in November of last year I went to Brazil and I went back in June. Of course, in both occasions, I was and remained deeply saddened but in my second visit, I was also inspired by what I was able to see for myself on the ground. I took the chance to speak to representatives of the local communities and to some of the most affected families. Thankfully, quite a few of them in their recently restored homes and businesses. The activity on the ground is extensive. There are over 3,000 people working to rebuild infrastructure, provide community and social services, remove the tailings and increase the defenses around the failed dam ahead of the coming wet season.

We are continuing to work with Samarco hand in glove to restore conditions as quickly as possible. And while some of the aspects of this plan are going to be delivered quickly, as I saw, others are going to take years. We, that's BHP Billiton Vale and Samarco, all believe that the Framework Agreement that we jointly entered into with the Brazilian authorities in March of this year includes the right and effective long-term work program for remediation and compensation. And under this agreement, an independent foundation has been created to deliver 41 social and environmental rehabilitation programs. And when I was there, I saw a lot of progress being made with 38 programs, I saw 90% already significantly underway.

Many if not all of these are bottom-up programs. They have been developed from the community's input, from scientific studies and the advice of global experts to properly parametrize what we should do as decent people. The approval of funds for the foundation, which we announced in late July, has further demonstrated our commitment to the foundation's important work, so our approvals and that obviously of Samarco and Vale. Also, front of the mind for all stakeholders is the safe restart of the operations at Samarco. And all our studies to date that it is possible, but this is going to take some time.

Samarco, and we agree with them, have confirmed that it is unlikely for us to have the necessary approvals to restart its operations this calendar year. And we -- all of us -- will only agree to restart when it is clearly safe to do so and all the regulatory approvals have been granted. In the coming weeks, we are expecting to receive