BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has taken some time away from the pain the company finds itself in to make a “pilgrimage” to the place it all began for the miner – Broken Hill.
When asked if the visit to BHP’s birthplace provided him with some comfort given what the the miner is going through, Mr Mackenzie said: “Yes, very simply put, it is quite uplifting.”
“In the 130 years since we’ve started here we’ve faced our fair set of challenges, so I am not going to magnify those today, or the ones that have been faced in the past.
“But I think getting a grasp of the heritage and understanding the values as to why this company has grown and lasted for 130 years certainly gives me the courage and belief that we can do it all over again, for another 130 years.”
BHP, which is an acronym for Broken Hill Proprietary, is battling a huge collapse in the oil price that almost no-one saw coming, big pressure on cash flows and increasing calls to cut its annual $US6.6 billion dividend payout at its results next month. It is also facing financial and reputational damage from the collapse of a tailings dam at one of its operations in Brazil last year.
So for Mr Mackenzie, the trip provided a welcome, albeit brief, breather ahead of the miner’s interim results next month.
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