It has been three years since BHP partnered with Greening Australia and Curtin University to trial the use of vegetation barriers to capture dust in Port Hedland as part of BHP’s Pilbara Air Quality Program.

Since the trial started, more than 150,000 seedlings have now been planted. As the project is nearing completion, BHP team members along with project partners and supporters, came together to plant some trees together.

Greening Australia also invited Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation to provide a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony given that the projects proximity to a significant heritage site.

All plants are local native Pilbara species and include attributes that that perform best for dust capture. The planting profile has also been specifically designed to maximise dust capture and in total, the vegetation barrier cover seven hectares, and span approximately 2.3km.

Cindy Dunham, BHP Port General Manager, said that as the plants grow, they will create a dust barrier between the operations of our business and the community.

“It’s been great to see all the project partners involved in this important milestone which will improve local amenity as part of BHP’s $300 million Pilbara Air Quality Program,” Cindy said.

Ben Hine, General Manager Greening Australia, said the journey of Project LEAF over the last few years has been a great example of collaboration towards achieving its mission of rebuilding nature by connecting community, economy and environment in ways that benefit all.

“To have the opportunity to engage local Pilbara First Nations partners to plan, design, supply products and build project LEAF together at this scale safely and effectively is a great achievement by all involved. We look forward to seeing this project establish for the benefit of the local community and environment for years to come,” Ben said.

Indigenous-owned landscaping company, Yurra, has been contracted to manage ground works. Justin Bryne, Manager Yurra, said it had been exciting to be involved in the project.

“We’ve worked with Greening Australia to formulate the design and look at the plant mixes and what we think will grow well. We’re also providing the local supervision as well as the project management.”

Not only have we had some fantastic external partners, but the project had benefitted from a collaborative approach between NPI and Community Teams as we planted our way across BHP owned land and land vested with the Town of Port Hedland.