Source - RNS
RNS Number : 3835K
BHP Billiton PLC
21 September 2016

Issued by:

BHP Billiton Plc



21 September 2016



London Stock Exchange

JSE Limited


For Release:




Helen Ratsey +44 (0) 20 7802 7540



BHP Billiton Plc - Annual Financial Report 2016



UK Listing Authority Submissions


The following documents have today been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at:


·     Annual Report 2016 


·     Sustainability Report 2016


·     Form 20-F


·     Notice of Annual General Meeting 2016 - BHP Billiton Plc 


·     Proxy Form (UK Principal Register)


·     Proxy Form (South Africa Branch Register)


The documents (with the exception of the Proxy Forms) may also be accessed via BHP Billiton's website - - or using the web links above.


Additional Information

The following information is extracted from the Annual Report 2016 (page references are to pages in the Annual Report) and should be read in conjunction with BHP Billiton's Final Results announcement issued on 16 August 2016.  Both documents can be found at and together, constitute the material required by DTR 6.3.5 to be communicated to the media in unedited full text through a Regulatory Information Service. This material is not a substitute for reading the Annual Report 2016 in full.

1.  Principal risks and uncertainties

1.1 Approach to risk management

Identifying and managing risk is central to achieving our corporate purpose of creating long-term shareholder value.

If realised, risks have the potential to impact our health, safety, environment, community, regulatory, market and financial performance, as well as our reputation, and thereby the achievement of our corporate purpose. Successful risk management can be a source of competitive advantage.

We provide greater certainty and confidence for our stakeholders by understanding and managing risk.

BHP Billiton's risks are viewed and managed on a Company-wide basis. Our diversified portfolio of commodities, geographies, currencies, assets and liabilities is a key part of our risk management approach.

We embed risk management in our critical business activities, functions, processes and systems. Materiality and risk tolerance are key considerations in our decision-making.

We seek to identify, analyse and assess risk issues. We implement the following performance requirements for material risks that could threaten our corporate purpose or strategy:

·      Risk assessments - we identify, analyse (including likelihood and impact assessment), evaluate, treat and monitor risks.

·      Risk controls - we design, implement, operate and assess controls to determine control effectiveness. We establish performance standards for critical controls over material risks with supporting verification processes.

·      Risk materiality and tolerability evaluation - we assess the materiality of the risk based on the degree of financial and non-financial impacts, including health, safety, environment, community, reputation and legal impacts. Tolerability assessment is based on a combination of residual risk and control effectiveness. 

We apply established processes when entering or commencing new activities in high-risk countries. These include risk assessments and supporting risk management plans to ensure potential reputation, legal, business conduct and corruption-related exposures are managed and legislative compliance is maintained, including relevant anti-corruption legislation and the application of any relevant sanctions or trade embargoes.

For information on our risk management governance approach, refer to sections 2.13.1 and 2.14 of the Annual Report 2016.

Robust risk assessment and viability statement

In accordance with the UK Corporate Governance Code, the Board confirms that it has carried out a robust assessment of the Company's principal risks, including those that would threaten the business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity.

In accordance with the UK Corporate Governance Code (longer-term viability), the Directors have assessed the prospects of the Company over the next three years, taking account of the Company's current position and principal risks.

The Directors believe a three-year viability assessment period is appropriate for the following reasons. BHP Billiton has a two-year budget, a five-year outlook and a 20-year strategic planning horizon. The extent and synchronised nature of the decline in commodity prices experienced in FY2016 were stronger than anticipated, and the Company has publicly stated our view that the outlook for the sector remains challenging and volatile in the short to medium term. A significant proportion of the variability in plans and budgets for the Company is influenced by exchange rate volatility and price volatility. A three-year period was therefore seen as striking an appropriate balance.

The Directors' assessment took into account, among other things, the Company's commodity price protocols including low-case prices; the latest funding and liquidity update; the long-dated maturity profile of the Company's debt and the maximum debt maturing in any one year; the Company-level risk profile and the mitigating actions available should particular risks materialise; the annual Board strategy forum, which provides a strategic review of the Company's markets and plans under divergent scenarios and considers available strategic options; the flexibility in the Company's capital and exploration expenditure programs under the enhanced capital allocation framework; and the reserve life of the Company's minerals assets and the reserves-to-production life of its oil and gas assets.

The Directors' assessment also took account of additional stress-testing of the balance sheet against two significant risk events: a shipping blockage of the Port Hedland Channel that could disrupt export of iron ore and a short-term extreme hypothetical event that catches the global resource industry off-guard, causing an abrupt and significant disruption to global capital markets.

The Directors were also mindful of the scenario analysis incorporated into the Company's corporate planning process. While the scenarios use a 20-year time horizon, scenario planning is important in helping identify the key uncertainties facing the global economy and natural resources sector.

Taking account of these matters, and the Company's current position and principal risks, the Directors have a reasonable expectation that BHP Billiton will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the next three years.

Risk factors

There are a number of factors that may have an adverse effect on our results and operations.

The principal risks discussed below, separately or in combination, could have a material effect on BHP Billiton's strategic and operational plans and its reputation. In addition, we have also set out the risks relating to the failure of the Fundão tailings dam at Samarco Mineração S.A. (Samarco dam failure), which could, separately or in combination with the principal risks, have a material effect on our business, competitive position, cash flows, prospects, liquidity and shareholder returns.

Samarco dam failure

Our potential liabilities from litigation and other actions resulting from the Samarco dam failure are subject to significant uncertainty and cannot be reliably estimated at this time but they could have a material adverse effect on our business.

On 5 November 2015, the Samarco Mineração S.A. (Samarco) iron ore operations experienced a tailings dam failure that resulted in a release of mine tailings, flooding the communities of Bento Rodrigues, Gesteira and Paracatu and impacting other communities downstream and the Rio Doce. Samarco is a joint venture owned equally by BHP Billiton Brasil Limitada (BHP Billiton Brasil) and Vale S.A. (Vale). For information on the Samarco dam failure, refer to section 1.4 of the Annual Report 2016.

The Samarco dam failure and subsequent suspension of Samarco's mining and processing operations have had a significant impact on our financial results for the year ended 30 June 2016, as described in section 1.4 of the Annual Report 2016 and in note 3 'Significant events - Samarco dam failure' to the Financial Statements in the Annual Report 2016.

Mining and processing operations remain suspended following the dam failure. Samarco is currently progressing plans to resume operations; however, significant uncertainties surrounding the nature and timing of any resumption of operations remain, including as a result of Samarco's significant debt obligations. For further details of financial information relating to Samarco refer to note 28 'Investments accounted for using the equity method' to the Financial Statements in the Annual Report 2016.

BHP Billiton Brasil is among the defendants named in a number of legal proceedings initiated by individuals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations and governmental entities in Brazilian federal and state courts following the Samarco dam failure. The other defendants include Vale and Samarco. The lawsuits seek various remedies, including rehabilitation costs, compensation to injured individuals and families of the deceased, recovery of personal and property losses, moral damages and injunctive relief. These legal proceedings include civil public actions filed by state prosecutors in Minas Gerais (claiming damages of approximately R$7.5 billion (US$2.3 billion)), public defenders in Minas Gerais (claiming damages of approximately R$10 billion (US$3.1 billion)) and state prosecutors in Espírito Santo (claiming damages of approximately R$2 billion (US$620 million)). Given the preliminary status of all these proceedings, and the duplicative nature of the damages sought in these proceedings and the R$20 billion (US$6.2 billion) and R$155 billion (US$48 billion) claims noted below, it is not possible at this time to provide a range of possible outcomes or a reliable estimate of potential future exposures for BHP Billiton Brasil.

Among the claims brought against BHP Billiton Brasil is a public civil claim commenced by the Federal Government of Brazil, states of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and other public authorities (Brazilian Authorities) on 30 November 2015, seeking the establishment of a fund of up to R$20 billion (US$6.2 billion) in aggregate for clean-up costs and damages. 

On 2 March 2016, BHP Billiton Brasil together with Samarco and Vale entered into a Framework Agreement (Framework Agreement) with the Brazilian Authorities to establish the Fundação Renova that will develop and execute environmental and socio-economic programs to remediate and provide compensation for damage caused by the Samarco dam failure. In light of the significant uncertainties surrounding the nature and timing of ongoing future operations at Samarco and based on currently available information, at 30 June 2016, BHP Billiton recognised a provision of US$1.2 billion, before tax and after discounting, in respect of BHP Billiton Brasil's potential obligations under the Framework Agreement.

The Framework Agreement was ratified by the Federal Court of Appeal in Brasilia on 5 May 2016, suspending the R$20 billion public civil claim. However, on 30 June 2016, the Superior Court of Justice issued a preliminary order (Interim Order) suspending the ratification of the Framework Agreement and reinstating the R$20 billion public civil claim. Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton Brasil and the Federal Government have appealed the Interim Order before the Superior Court of Justice. It is not possible at this time to provide a range of possible outcomes or a reliable estimate of potential future exposures for BHP Billiton Brasil in relation to the R$20 billion public civil claim.

BHP Billiton Brasil is also among the defendants named in a claim brought by the Federal Public Prosecution Service on 3 May 2016, seeking R$155 billion (approximately US$43 billion) for reparation, compensation and moral damages in relation to the Samarco dam failure. Given the preliminary status of these proceedings, it is not possible at this time to provide a range of possible outcomes or a reliable estimate of potential future exposures for BHP Billiton Brasil. 

In addition, government inquiries and investigations relating to the Samarco dam failure have been commenced by numerous agencies of the Brazilian Government, and other lawsuits and investigations are at the early stages of proceedings, including a shareholder action filed in the United States against BHP Billiton and certain current or former Directors and officers. For more information on the shareholder action and other lawsuits relating to the Samarco dam failure, refer to section 6.5 of the Annual Report 2016. Additional lawsuits and government investigations relating to the Samarco dam failure may be brought against BHP Billiton Brasil and possibly other BHP Billiton entities in Brazil or other jurisdictions.

Works are underway to reinforce and improve the dam structures at Samarco so as to contain the remaining tailings materials. A large portion of the works are scheduled to be completed before the next wet season commences. The potential nonetheless remains for further release or downstream movement of tailings material during this season, which may result in additional claims, fines and proceedings (or impact existing proceedings) and may also have additional consequences on the environment and the feasibility, timing and scope of any restart of Samarco operations.

Our potential costs and liabilities in relation to the Samarco dam failure are subject to a high degree of uncertainty and cannot be reliably estimated at this time. The total amounts that we may be required to pay will be dependent on many factors, including the timing and nature of a potential restart of operations at Samarco, the number of claims that become payable, the quantum of any fines levied, the outcome of litigation and the amount and timing of payments under any judgements or settlements. Nevertheless, such potential costs and liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, competitive position, cash flows, prospects, liquidity and shareholder returns. For more information on the Samarco dam failure, refer to section 1.4 of the Annual Report 2016.

External risks

Fluctuations in commodity prices (including sustained price shifts) and impacts of ongoing global economic volatility may negatively affect our results, including cash flows and asset values.

The prices we obtain for our oil, gas and minerals are determined by, or linked to, prices in world markets, which have historically been subject to significant volatility. Our usual policy is to sell our products at the prevailing market prices. The diversity provided by our relatively broad portfolio of commodities does not necessarily insulate the Company from the effects of price changes. Fluctuations in commodity prices can occur due to price shifts reflecting underlying global economic and geopolitical factors, industry demand, increased supply due to the development of new productive resources or increased production from existing resources, technological change, product substitution and national tariffs. We are particularly exposed to price movements in iron ore, coal, copper, oil and gas. For example, a US$1 per tonne decline in the average iron ore price and US$1 per barrel decline in the average oil price would have an estimated impact on FY2016 profit after taxation of US$141 million and US$58 million, respectively. For more information in relation to commodity price impacts, refer to section 1.8.1 of the Annual Report 2016. Volatility in global economic growth, particularly in developing economies, has the potential to adversely affect future demand and prices for commodities. The impact of sustained price shifts and short-term price volatility, including the effects of unwinding the sustained monetary stimulus in the United States, and uncertainty surrounding the details of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union following the June 2016 referendum, creates the risk that our financial and operating results, including cash flows and asset values, will be materially and adversely affected by short or long-term declines in the prevailing prices of our products.

Our financial results may be negatively affected by exchange rate fluctuations

The geographic diversity of the countries in which we operate means that our assets, earnings and cash flows are influenced by a wide variety of currencies. Fluctuations in the exchange rates of those currencies may have a significant impact on our financial results. The US dollar is the currency in which the majority of our sales is denominated and the currency in which we present our financial performance. Operating costs are influenced by the currencies of those countries where our assets and facilities are located and also by those currencies in which the costs of imported equipment and services are determined. The Australian dollar, Chilean peso and US dollar are some of the currencies influencing our operating costs. We do not generally believe active currency hedging provides long-term benefits to our shareholders. From time-to-time, we consider currency protection measures appropriate in specific commercial circumstances, subject to strict limits established by the Board.

Reduction in Chinese demand may negatively impact our results

The Chinese market has been driving global materials demand and pricing over the past decade. Sales into China generated US$13.2 billion (FY2015: US$16.3 billion) or 42.6 per cent (FY2015: 36.6 per cent) of our revenue in FY2016. FY2016 sales into China by commodity included 61 per cent Iron Ore, 28 per cent Copper, 10 per cent Coal and one per cent Nickel (reported in Group and Unallocated). A continued slowing in China's economic growth and demand could result in lower prices for our products and negatively impact our results, including cash flows.

Actions by governments, additional regulation or political events in the countries in which we operate could have a negative impact on our business

There are varying degrees of political, judicial and commercial stability in the locations in which we have operated and non-operated assets around the globe. At the same time, our exposure to emerging markets may involve additional risks that could have an adverse effect on the profitability of an operation. These risks could include terrorism, civil unrest, judicial activism, regulatory investigation, nationalisation, protectionism, renegotiation or nullification of existing contracts, leases, permits or other agreements, imposts, controls or prohibitions on the production or use of certain products, restrictions on repatriation of earnings or capital and changes in laws and policy, as well as other unforeseeable risks. Risks relating to bribery and corruption, including possible delays or disruption resulting from a refusal to make so-called facilitation payments, may be prevalent in some of the countries in which we operate. If any of our major operations are affected by one or more of these risks, it could have a negative effect on our operations in those countries, as well as the Company's overall operating results, financial condition and prospects.

Our operated and non-operated assets are based on material long-term investments that are dependent on long-term fiscal stability and could be adversely affected by changes in fiscal legislation, changes in interpretation of fiscal legislation, periodic challenges and disagreements with tax authorities and legal proceedings relating to fiscal matters. The natural resources industry continues to be regarded as a source of tax revenue and can also be adversely affected by broader fiscal measures applying to businesses generally. The Group is currently involved in a number of uncertain tax and royalty matters - refer to note 5 'Income tax expense' to the Financial Statements in the Annual Report 2016 for further detail.

Our business could be adversely affected by new or evolving government regulations and international standards, such as controls on imports, exports, prices and greenhouse gas emissions. The nature of the industries in which we operate means many of our activities are highly regulated by laws relating to health, safety, environment and community impacts. Increasing requirements relating to regulatory, environmental, social or community approvals can potentially result in significant delays or interruptions and may adversely affect the economics of new mining and oil and gas projects, the expansion of existing operations and the performance of our operations. As regulatory standards and expectations are constantly developing, we may be exposed to increased regulatory review, compliance costs to meet new operating and reporting standards and unforeseen closure and site rehabilitation expenses.

Infrastructure, such as rail, ports, power and water, is critical to our business operations. We have operations or potential development projects in countries where government-provided infrastructure or regulatory regimes for access to infrastructure, including our own privately operated infrastructure, may be inadequate, uncertain or subject to legislative change. The impact of climate change may increase competition for, and the regulation of, limited resources, such as power and water. These factors may adversely affect the expansion of our business and ability of our assets to operate efficiently.

We operate in countries where land tenure can be uncertain and where disputes may arise in relation to ownership and use. For example, in Australia, the Native Title Act 1993 provides for the establishment and recognition of native title under certain circumstances.

New or evolving regulations and international standards are complex, difficult to predict and outside our control. Potential compliance costs, litigation expenses, regulatory delays, rehabilitation expenses and operational costs arising from government action, regulatory change and evolving standards could negatively affect our Company, future results, prospects and our financial condition.

Business risks

Failure to discover or acquire new resources, maintain reserves or develop new operations could negatively affect our future results and financial condition

The demand for our products and production from our operations results in existing reserves being depleted over time. As our revenues and profits are derived from our oil, gas and minerals operations, our future results and financial condition are directly related to the success of our exploration and acquisition efforts, and our ability to generate reserves to meet our future production requirements at a competitive cost. Exploration activity occurs adjacent to established operations and in new regions, in developed and less-developed countries. These activities may increase land tenure, infrastructure and related political risks. A failure in our ability to discover or acquire new resources, maintain reserves or develop new operations in sufficient quantities to maintain or grow the current level of our reserves could negatively affect our results, financial condition and prospects. Deterioration in commodities pricing may make some existing reserves uneconomic. Our actual exploration drilling activities and future drilling budget will depend on our inventory size and quality, drilling results, commodity prices, drilling and production costs, availability of drilling services and equipment, lease expirations, land access, transportation pipelines, railroads and other infrastructure constraints, regulatory approvals and other factors.

There are numerous uncertainties inherent in estimating mineral and oil and gas reserves. Geological assumptions about our mineralisation that are valid at the time of estimation may change significantly when new information becomes available. Estimates of reserves that will be recovered, or the cost at which we anticipate reserves will be recovered, are based on uncertain assumptions. The uncertain global financial outlook may affect economic assumptions related to reserve recovery and may require reserve restatements. Reserve restatements could negatively affect our results and prospects.

Potential changes to our portfolio of assets through acquisitions and divestments may have a material adverse effect on our future results and financial condition

We regularly review the composition of our asset portfolio and from time-to-time may add assets to, or divest assets from, the portfolio. There are a number of risks associated with acquisitions or divestments. These include:

·      adverse market reaction to such changes or the timing or terms on which changes are made;

·      the imposition of adverse regulatory conditions and obligations;

·      commercial objectives not being achieved as expected;

·      unforeseen liabilities arising from changes to the portfolio;

·      sales revenues and operational performance not meeting our expectations;

·      anticipated synergies or cost savings being delayed or not being achieved;

·      inability to retain key staff and transaction-related costs being more than anticipated.

These factors could negatively affect our reputation, future results and financial condition.

Increased costs and schedule delays may adversely affect our development projects

Although we devote significant time and resources to our project planning, approval and review processes, many of our development projects are highly complex and rely on factors that are outside our control, which may cause us to underestimate the cost or time required to complete a project. For instance, incidents or unexpected conditions encountered during development projects may cause setbacks or cost overruns, required licences, permits or authorisations to build a project may be unobtainable at anticipated costs, or may be obtained only after significant delay and market conditions may change, thereby making a project less profitable than initially projected.

In addition, we may fail to develop and manage projects as effectively as we anticipate and unforeseen challenges may emerge.

Any of these may result in increased capital costs and schedule delays at our development projects and adversely affect anticipated financial returns.

Financial risks

If our liquidity and cash flow deteriorate significantly it could adversely affect our ability to fund our major capital programs

We seek to maintain a strong balance sheet. However, fluctuations in commodity prices and the ongoing global economic volatility may adversely affect our future cash flows and ability to access capital from financial markets at acceptable pricing. If our key financial ratios and credit rating are not maintained, our liquidity and cash reserves, interest rate costs on borrowed debt, future access to financial capital markets and the ability to fund current and future major capital programs could be adversely affected.

We may not fully recover our investments in mining, oil and gas assets, which may require financial write-downs

One or more of our assets may be adversely affected by changed market or industry structures, commodity prices, technical operating difficulties, inability to recover our mineral, oil or gas reserves and increased operating cost levels. These may cause us to fail to recover all or a portion of our investment in mining, oil and gas assets and may require financial write-downs, including goodwill, adversely affecting our financial results.

The commercial counterparties we transact with may not meet their obligations, which may negatively affect our results

We contract with many commercial and financial counterparties, including end-customers, suppliers and financial institutions. Global economic volatility continues to strain global financial markets, with tighter liquidity in China and uncertain business conditions generally. We maintain a 'one book' approach with commercial counterparties to ensure all credit exposures are quantified. However, our existing counterparty credit controls may not prevent a material loss due to credit exposure to a major customer segment or financial counterparty. In addition, customers, suppliers, contractors or joint venture partners may fail to perform against existing contracts and obligations. Non-supply of key inputs, such as tyres, mining and mobile equipment, diesel and other key consumables, may unfavourably impact costs and production at our operations. These factors could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Operational risks

Unexpected natural and operational catastrophes may adversely impact our operations

We operate onshore and offshore extractive, processing and logistical operations in many geographic locations. Our key port facilities are located at Coloso and Antofagasta in Chile and Port Hedland and Hay Point in Australia. We have four underground mines, including one underground coal mine. Our operational processes may be subject to operational accidents, such as port and shipping incidents, underground mine and processing plant fire and explosion, open-cut pit wall or tailings/waste storage facility failures, loss of power supply, railroad incidents, loss of well control, environmental pollution, and mechanical critical equipment failures and cyber security attacks on Company infrastructure. Our operations may also be subject to unexpected natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis. Our northwest Western Australia iron ore, Queensland coal and Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations are located in areas subject to cyclones or hurricanes. Our Chilean copper and Peruvian base metals operations are located in a known earthquake and tsunami zone. Based on our risk management and concerns about the value of external insurance in the natural resource sector, our risk financing (insurance) approach is to minimise or not to purchase external insurance for certain risks, including property damage and business interruption, sabotage and terrorism, marine cargo, construction, primary public liability and employee benefits. Existing business continuity plans may not provide protection for all the costs that arise from such events, including clean-up costs, litigation and other claims. The impact of these events could lead to disruptions in production, increased costs and loss of facilities. Where external insurance is purchased, third party claims arising from these events may exceed the limit of liability of the insurance policies we have in place. Additionally, any uninsured or underinsured losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

Cost pressures and reduced productivity could negatively impact our operating margins and expansion plans

Cost pressures may continue to occur across the resources industry. As the prices for our products are determined by the global commodity markets in which we operate, we do not generally have the ability to offset these cost pressures through corresponding price increases, which can adversely affect our operating margins. Although our efforts to reduce costs and a number of key cost inputs are commodity price-linked, the inability to reduce costs and a timing lag may adversely impact our operating margins for an extended period.

A number of our operations, such as copper, are energy or water intensive and as a result, the Group's costs and earnings could be adversely affected by rising costs or by supply interruptions. These could include the unavailability of energy, fuel or water due to a variety of reasons, including fluctuations in climate, inadequate infrastructure capacity, interruptions in supply due to equipment failure or other causes and the inability to extend supply contracts on economic terms.

Many of our Australian employees have conditions of employment, including wages, governed by the operation of the Australian Fair Work Act 2009. Conditions of employment are often contained within collective agreements that are required to be renegotiated on expiry (typically every three to four years). In some instances, under the operation of the Fair Work Act it can be expected that unions will pursue increases to conditions of employment, including wages, and/or claims for greater union involvement in business decision-making.

In circumstances where a collective agreement is being renegotiated, industrial action is permitted under the Fair Work Act. Industrial action and any subsequent settlement to mitigate associated commercial damage can adversely affect productivity and customer perceptions as a reliable supplier, and contribute to increases in costs.

The industrial relations environment in Chile remains challenging and it is possible that we will see further disruptions. Changes to labour legislation are being considered by the Chilean Congress, and if passed would result in the right to have a single negotiating body across different operations owned by a single company, which may also result in higher risk of operational stoppages.

More broadly, cost and productivity pressures on our Company and our contractors and sub-contractors may increase the risk of industrial action and employment litigation.

These factors could lead to increased operating costs at existing operations, interruptions or delays and could negatively impact our operating margins and expansion plans.

Our non-operated assets and our commercial counterparties may not comply with our standards

Some of our assets are operated and managed by joint venture partners or by other companies. Management of our non-operated assets may not comply with our management and operating standards, controls and procedures, including our health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) standards. Failure to adopt equivalent standards, controls and procedures at these assets could lead to higher costs and reduced production, litigation and regulatory action, delays or interruptions and adversely impact our results, prospects and reputation.

Commercial counterparties, such as our suppliers, contractors and customers, may not comply with our HSEC standards causing adverse reputational and legal impacts.

Breaches in, or failures of, our information technology may adversely impact our business activities

We maintain and increasingly rely on information technology (IT) systems, consisting of digital infrastructure, applications and networks to support our business activities. These systems may be subject to security breaches (e.g. cyber-crime or activists) or other incidents (e.g. from negligence) that can result in misappropriation of funds, increased health and safety risks to people, disruption to our operations, environmental damage, poor product quality, loss of intellectual property, disclosure of commercially or personally sensitive information, legal or regulatory breaches and liability, other costs and reputational damage.

Evolving convergence of IT and Operational Technology (OT) networks across industries, including ours, present additional cyber-related risk as traditionally IT networks have been focused on availability of service to the enterprise.


Sustainability risks

Safety, health, environmental and community impacts, incidents or accidents may adversely affect our people, operations and reputation or licence to operate

Potential safety events that may have a material adverse impact on our people, operations, reputation or licence to operate include fire, explosion or rock fall incidents in underground mining operations, personnel conveyance equipment failures in underground operations, aircraft incidents, road incidents involving buses and light vehicles, incidents between light vehicles and mobile mining equipment, ground control failures, uncontrolled tailings containment breaches, well blowouts, explosions or gas leaks and accidents involving inadequate isolation, working from heights or lifting operations.


Health risks faced include fatigue, musculoskeletal illnesses and occupational exposure to substances or agents including noise, silica, coal mine dust, diesel exhaust particulate, nickel and sulphuric acid mist and mental illness. Longer-term health impacts may arise due to unanticipated workplace exposures or historical exposures of our workforce to hazardous substances. These effects may create future financial compensation obligations, adversely impact our people, reputation or licence to operate and affect the way we conduct our operations.

Given we operate globally, we could be affected by a public health emergency such as influenza or other infectious disease outbreaks in any of the regions in which we operate.


Our operations by their nature have the potential to adversely impact air quality, biodiversity, water resources and related ecosystem services. Changes in scientific understanding of these impacts, regulatory requirements or stakeholder expectations may prevent or delay project approvals and result in increased costs for mitigation, offsets or compensatory actions.

Environmental incidents have the potential to lead to material adverse impacts on our people, operations, reputation or licence to operate. These include uncontrolled tailings containment breaches, subsidence from mining activities, escape of polluting substances and uncontrolled releases of hydrocarbons.

We provide for operational closure and site rehabilitation. Our operating and closed facilities are required to have closure plans. Changes in regulatory or community expectations may result in the relevant plans not being adequate. This may increase financial provisioning and costs at the affected operations.

Climate change may adversely affect the value of our Company, and our operations and markets

The physical and non-physical impacts of climate change may affect our operations, productivity and the markets in which we sell our products. This includes acute and chronic changes in weather, policy and regulatory change, technological development and market and economic responses. Fossil fuel-related emissions are a significant source of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. We produce fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas for sale to customers, and we use fossil fuels in our mining and processing operations either directly or through the purchase of fossil fuel based electricity.

A number of national governments have already introduced, or are contemplating the introduction of, regulatory responses to greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels to address the impacts of climate change. This includes countries where we have operations such as Australia, the United States and Chile, as well as customer markets such as China, India and Europe. In addition, the international community completed a new global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015. The absence of regulatory certainty, global policy inconsistencies and the challenges presented by managing our portfolio across a variety of regulatory frameworks has the potential to adversely affect our operations and supply chain. From a medium- to long-term perspective, we are likely to see some adverse changes in the cost position of our greenhouse gas-intensive assets and energy-intensive assets as a result of regulatory impacts in the countries where we operate. These proposed regulatory mechanisms may adversely affect our operations directly or indirectly through our suppliers and customers. Assessments of the potential impact of future climate change regulation are uncertain given the wide scope of potential regulatory change in the many countries in which we operate. For example, the Australian Government repealed a carbon tax in 2014 and carbon pricing is being discussed as part of a broader tax reform package in Chile.

There is a potential gap between the current valuation of fossil fuel reserves on the balance sheets of companies and in global equities markets and the reduced value that could result if a significant proportion of reserves were rendered incapable of extraction in an economically viable fashion due to technology, regulatory or market responses to climate change. In such a scenario, stranded reserve assets held on our balance sheet may need to be impaired or written off and our inability to make productive use of such assets may also negatively impact our financial condition and results.

The growth of alternative energy supply options, such as renewables and nuclear, could also present a change to the energy mix that may reduce the value of fossil fuel assets.

The physical effects of climate change on our operations may include changes in rainfall patterns, water shortages, rising sea levels, increased storm intensities and higher temperatures. These effects may adversely affect the financial performance of our operations.


Local communities may be directly impacted by and become dissatisfied with our operations or oppose our new development projects, including through legal action, potentially affecting schedules, costs and production, and in extreme cases viability and adversely impacting our reputation and licence to operate. Community-related risks may include community protests or civil unrest, complaints to grievance mechanisms and civil society activism and may cause delays or changes to proposed developments and interruptions to existing operations. Our operations or activities also risk the potential for adverse impacts on human rights or breaches of other international laws or conventions.

Hydraulic fracturing

Our Onshore US operations involve hydraulic fracturing, which involves using water, sand and a small amount of chemicals to fracture hydrocarbon-bearing subsurface rock formations, to allow flow of hydrocarbons into the wellbore. We depend on the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques in our onshore US drilling and completion programs.

In the United States, the hydraulic fracturing process is typically regulated by relevant US state regulatory bodies. Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas (the states in which we currently operate) have adopted various laws and regulations, or issued regulatory guidance, concerning hydraulic fracturing. Some states are considering changes to regulations in relation to permitting, public disclosure, and/or well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing and related operations, including the possibility of outright bans on the process.

Several US federal agencies are also reviewing or advancing regulatory proposals concerning hydraulic fracturing and related operations. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commenced a study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources. The agency issued a non-determinative Progress Report in December 2012 and released a preliminary analysis on 30 March 2015. The EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) engaged a research advisory panel to address criticism over the study's core conclusion and that panel issued a draft report on 7 January 2016. The EPA's Office of Inspector General continues to research the EPA's and states' ability to manage potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing and produced a report on 16 July 2015 identifying two areas for improvement. The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final rule on 20 March 2015 that would impose new requirements on hydraulic fracturing operations conducted on federal lands, including the disclosure of chemicals used, wellbore integrity, water use and disposal of flow back water. The BLM regulation took effect on 24 June 2015. On 30 September 2015, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming granted a motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents enforcement of the regulation by BLM pending litigation. Activity at the federal level, including the ongoing EPA study, BLM rules and other analysis by federal and state agencies to assess the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, could spur additional legislative or regulatory actions.

While we have not experienced a material delay or substantially higher operating costs in our Onshore US operations as a result of current regulatory requirements, we cannot predict whether additional federal, state or local laws or regulations will be enacted and what such actions would require or prohibit. Additional legislation or regulation could subject our operations to delays and increased costs, or prohibit certain activities, which could adversely affect the financial performance of our Onshore US operations.

A breach of our governance processes may lead to regulatory penalties and loss of reputation

We operate in a global environment that encompasses multiple jurisdictions and complex regulatory frameworks. Our governance and compliance processes, which include the review of internal controls over financial reporting and specific internal controls in relation to trade and financial sanctions and offers of anything of value to government officials and representatives of state-owned enterprises, may not prevent future potential breaches of law, or of accounting or governance practice. Our Code of Business Conduct, together with our mandatory policies, such as the anti-corruption, trade and financial sanctions and competition policies, may not prevent instances of fraudulent behaviour and dishonesty nor guarantee compliance with legal or regulatory requirements. This may lead to regulatory fines, disgorgement of profits, litigation, allegations or investigations by regulatory authorities, loss of operating licences and/or reputational damage.

1.2 Management of principal risks

The scope of our operations and the number of industries in which we operate and engage mean that a range of factors may impact our results. Material risks that could negatively affect our results and performance are described in section 1.9.2 of the Annual Report 2016. Our approach to managing these risks is outlined below.

Principal risk area

Risk management approach


Samarco dam failure

Our potential liabilities from litigation and other actions resulting from the Samarco dam failure are subject to significant uncertainty and cannot be reliably estimated at this time.


The Board has spent a significant amount of time discussing Samarco and considering our approach to the Samarco dam failure.

Soon after the Samarco dam failure occurred, a sub-committee of the Board was established to further consider and oversee matters relating to the Samarco dam failure, including BHP Billiton's support of the recovery and response efforts, investigation of the cause of the dam failure and our engagement with key stakeholders. The Samarco sub-committee comprises John Schubert (Chairman), Jac Nasser, Lindsay Maxsted and Malcolm Brinded.

Alongside the Samarco sub-committee, the Risk and Audit Committee and the Sustainability Committee have continued to consider matters relating to Samarco as part of the ongoing duties of those committees, including Samarco funding and the review of significant dams in the portfolio.

We believe these efforts provide a robust and comprehensive approach for the Board to best provide its oversight and input, and allows appropriate consideration to be brought to the various aspects of the response.

For further information on BHP Billiton's response to the Samarco dam failure, refer to section 1.4 of the Annual Report 2016.


External risks

Risks arise from fluctuations in commodity prices and demand in major markets (such as China or Europe) or changes in currency exchange rates and actions by governments, including new regulations and standards, and political events that impact long-term fiscal stability.

The diversification of our portfolio of commodities, geographies and currencies is a key strategy for reducing the effects of volatility. Section 1.8.1 of the Annual Report 2016 describes external factors and trends affecting our results and note 21 'Financial risk management' to the Financial Statements in the Annual Report 2016 outlines the Company's financial risk management strategy, including market, commodity, and currency risk. The Financial Risk Management Committee oversees these risks as described in sections 2.14 and 2.15 of the Annual Report 2016. We also engage with governments and other key stakeholders to ensure the potential adverse impacts of proposed fiscal, tax, resource investment, infrastructure access, regulatory changes and evolving international standards are understood and where possible mitigated.


Business risks

Risks include the inherent uncertainty of identifying and proving reserves, adding and divesting assets and managing our capital development projects.

Our Geoscience Centre of Excellence manages governance and technical leadership for Mineral Resource development and Ore Reserves reporting as described in section 6.3.2 of the Annual Report 2016. Our governance over reporting of Petroleum reserves is described in section 6.3.1 of the Annual Report 2016.

We have established investment approval processes that apply to all major capital projects and asset divestment and acquisitions. The Investment Committee oversees these as described in sections 2.14 and 2.15 of the Annual Report 2016. Our Project Management function additionally seeks to ensure that projects are safe, predictable and competitive.


Financial risks

Continued volatility in global financial markets may adversely impact future cash flows, our ability to adequately access and source capital from financial markets and our credit rating. Volatility may impact planned expenditures, as well as the ability to recover investments in mining, oil and gas projects. In addition, the commercial counterparties (customers, suppliers, contractors and financial institutions) we transact with may, due to adverse market conditions, fail to meet their contractual obligations.


We seek to maintain a strong balance sheet supported by our portfolio risk management strategy. As part of this strategy, the diversification of our portfolio reduces overall cash flow volatility. Commodity prices and currency exchange rates are not generally hedged, and wherever possible we take the prevailing market price. A trial hedging program for our shale gas operations is an exception and reflects the inherent differences in shale gas operations in our portfolio. A shale gas operation has a short-term investment cycle and a price responsive supply base and hedging prices and input costs can be used to fix investment returns and manage volatilities. We use Cash Flow at Risk analysis to monitor volatilities and key financial ratios. Credit limits and review processes are required to be established for all customers and financial counterparties. The Financial Risk Management Committee oversees these as described in sections 2.14 and 2.15 of the Annual Report 2016. Note 21 'Financial risk management' to the Financial Statements in the Annual Report 2016 outlines our financial risk management strategy.


Operational risks

Operating cost pressures and reduced productivity could negatively affect operating margins and expansion plans. Non-operated assets may not comply with our standards. Unexpected natural and operational catastrophes may adversely affect our operations. Breaches in IT security processes may adversely affect the conduct of our business activities.


We aim to maintain adequate operating margins through our strategy to own and operate large, long-life, low-cost and expandable upstream assets.

The organisation's concentrated effort to reduce operating costs and drive productivity improvements has realised tangible results, with a reduction in controllable costs.

The capability to sustain productivity improvements is being further enhanced through continued refinements to our Operating Model. The Operating Model is designed to deliver a simple and scalable organisation, providing a competitive advantage through defining work, organisation and performance measurements. Defined global business processes, including 1SAP, provide a standardised way of working across the organisation. Common processes generate useful data and improve operating discipline. Global sourcing arrangements have been established to ensure continuity of supply and competitive costs for key supply inputs. We seek to influence the application of our standards to non-operated assets.

By applying our risk management processes, we seek to identify catastrophic operational risks and implement the critical controls and performance requirements to maintain control effectiveness. Business continuity plans are required to be established to mitigate consequences. Consistent with our portfolio risk management approach, we continue to be largely self-insured for losses arising from property damage, business interruption and construction.

From an industrial relations perspective, detailed planning is undertaken to support the renegotiation of employment agreements and is supported by training and access to expertise in negotiation and agreement making.

IT security controls to protect IT infrastructure, business applications and communication networks and respond to security incidents are in place and subject to regular monitoring and assessment. To maintain adequate levels of protection, we also continue to monitor the development of threats in the external environment and assess potential responses to those threats.

BHP Billiton has identified a number of actions that we will take in our management of tailings dams and joint venture arrangements. For details of those actions refer to section 1.4 of the Annual Report 2016.

Sustainability risks

HSEC incidents or accidents may adversely affect our people or neighbouring communities, operations and reputation or licence to operate. The potential physical impacts and related responses to climate change may impact the value of our Company, our operations and markets.


Our approach to sustainability risks is reflected in Our Charter and described in section 1.11 of the Annual Report 2016, including a Company-level safety intervention that was initiated in FY2015. Our Requirements standards set out Group-wide HSEC-related performance requirements designed to support effective management control of these risks.

Our approach to corporate planning, investment decision-making and portfolio management provides a focus on the identification, assessment and management of climate change risks. We have been applying an internal price on carbon in our investment decisions for more than a decade. Through a comprehensive and strategic approach to corporate planning, we work with a broad range of scenarios to assess our portfolio, including consideration of a broad range of potential policy responses to and impacts from climate change. 

Our approach to engagement with community stakeholders is outlined in our minimum organisational requirements for Community. Operations are also required to undertake stakeholder identification analysis, social impact and opportunity assessments, community perception surveys and human rights impact assessments to identify, mitigate or manage key potential social and human rights risks.

The Our Requirements for Risk Management standard provides the framework for risk management relating to climate change and material health, safety, environment and community risks. Internal audits are conducted to test compliance with the Our Requirements standards and action plans are developed to address any gaps. Key findings are reported to senior management and reports are considered by relevant Board committees.

Our Code of Business Conduct sets out requirements related to working with integrity, including dealings with government officials and third parties. Processes and controls are in place for the internal control over financial reporting, including under Sarbanes-Oxley. We have established anti-corruption, competition and trade sanctions performance requirements, which are overseen by the Compliance functions, as described in section 2.16 of the Annual Report 2016. Additionally, the Disclosure Committee oversees our compliance with securities dealing obligations and continuous and periodic disclosure obligations as described in sections 2.14, 2.15 and 2.17 of the Annual Report 2016.




2.  Related party transactions

There have been no related party transactions that have taken place during the year ended 30 June 2016 that have materially affected the financial position or the performance of the BHP Billiton Group during that period. Details of the related party transactions that have taken place during the year ended 30 June 2016 are set out in notes 22 'Key management personnel' and 30 'Related party transactions' to the Financial Statements on pages 194 and 202 of the Annual Report 2016.


3.  Directors' Responsibility Statement

The following statement which was prepared for the purposes of the Annual Report 2016 is repeated here for the purposes of complying with DTR 6.3.5. It relates to and is extracted from the Annual Report 2016 and is not connected to the extracted and summarised information presented in this announcement.

"In accordance with a resolution of the Directors of the BHP Billiton Group, the Directors declare that:

(a)       in the Directors' opinion and to the best of their knowledge the Financial Statements and notes, set out in sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Annual Report 2016, are in accordance with the UK Companies Act 2006 and the Australian Corporations Act 2001, including:

(i)         complying with the applicable Accounting Standards;

(ii)        giving a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of each of BHP Billiton Limited, BHP Billiton Plc, the BHP Billiton Group and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole as at 30 June 2016 and of their performance for the year ended 30 June 2016;

(b)       the financial report also complies with International Financial Reporting Standards, as disclosed in section 5.1 of the Annual Report 2016;

(c)       to the best of the Directors' knowledge, the management report (comprising the Strategic Report and Directors' Report) includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the financial position of the BHP Billiton Group and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that the Group faces.

Signed in accordance with a resolution of the Board of Directors on 8 September 2016, Jac Nasser AO, Chairman and Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer."




BHP Billiton Plc Registration number 3196209

Registered in England and Wales

Registered Office: Neathouse Place London SW1V 1LH United Kingdom

A member of the BHP Billiton Group which is headquartered in Australia


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

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