A multinational company can be defined as company, which has its operations in a range of different countries or nations. BHP Billiton is one of such multinational companies as it has a number of locations as its operational points; and it is stated as being the biggest global resource companies in the country. Furthermore, it is also amongst the global leaders. The company works on production of different commodities, some of which include energy, manganese, copper, coal, aluminum, nickel, and silver. The number of people employed by BHP Billiton stands at 100.000 individuals, which form a sum of both contractors, as well as, the employees. This huge database of individuals helps in attaining new heights for it (Business Review Australia, 2013). The company’s success is because of consistent strategies which have proved their worth, and the unique manner in which it works, which distinguishes it from the others (BHP Billiton, 2016a).
The company works in the mining and metals industry and is also an Anglo-Australian multinational company (Mining Global, 2015). BHP Billiton was born in New South Wales’ small abandoned mining town, Broken Hill. Through an amalgamation of Anglo Dutch Billion plc and Australian Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited in the year of 2001, and this gave it its present identity (Thompson and Macklin, 2010). At two places, the company is listed. Its UK registered part is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company is amongst the FTSE 100 Index as a result of being listed there (FTSE, 2015). The company has takes pride in being listed at the Australian Securities Exchange, for its Australian registered part (Dick and Merrett, 2007).
The company operates in both America and also in Australia. BHP Billiton’s global headquarters are situated in Australia. The lead point of its sales and marketing team is at Singapore and at United States’ Houston (BHP Billiton, 2017a). The address of this location can be easily found, and the same is 171 Collins St, Melbourne CBD, Australia (Norman Disney & Young, 2013). For the year of 2016, the company proudly employed 26,827 employees and this figure depicts its workforce in Australia alone. Though, the employees from such entities which are under the control of BHP Billiton or its subsidiaries are included in this count (IBIS, 2016). Internationally, including the count of its employees, as well as, the contractors, the company shows a workforce to the number of 65,000 (BHP Billiton, 2017).
Through the previous part the location of the global headquarters of the company was highlighted. This depicts that the company has its operations in Australia. As a result of this, the Australian regulatory framework, in form of certain codes, or different legislation and their supporting regulations become applicable on it. A few of these have been covered below.
The previous part aptly highlighted the strength of BHP Billiton is in its huge strength of human resource. This human resource demands that it is provided with a safe working environment, which is safe for their working. To ensure this particular point of its human resource, for its operations in Victoria, the company follows a range of regulatory framework pertaining to the health and safety of the workforce. However for the other jurisdictions, it follows the ones which are applicable in such jurisdiction. So, for Tasmania, Western Australia, or South Australia, the company has to abide by the health and safety regulations of these states. Some of the regulatory framework which is applicable on the company, for its operations in Victoria, includes Vic Compliance Codes, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007, and Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. To ensure that the company follows the provisions in its true sense, the applicability of these regulatory frameworks is regulated, for Victoria, by the Work Safe Australia (Business, 2017a).
Each and every company in Australia, until the same has been particularly exempted, has to adhere to the provisions contained in the Corporations Act, 2001, which is an act of the Commonwealth. This particular act puts forward an obligation on the directors of the company to prevent any such trading which could result in the insolvency of the company; to act in good faith; the proper use of information of the company, the naming of the company; and various other provisions. In short, this act as the guiding document for all of the companies in the nation. Due to the applicability of this particular act, the company is required to make certain specific disclosures each year in its Annual Reports. For the last year, i.e., the year of 2016, BHP Billiton had to declare in this report that the company did not bring out, or no one on its behalf brought about any proceedings as per this act’s section 237. Section 299(1) provides that the details of fines, which have been levied on the company, have to be declared in its annual report and the same was done by the company, when it declared that a fine to the value of US $60,609 was levied on it (BHP Billiton, 2016b).
The industry in which a particular company runs its business, also results in the applicability of a range of frameworks. BHP Billiton, as was stated earlier, works in the mining industry. Mining has a direct impact over the environment, and so the mining industry companies are required to strictly follow the acts to the line of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, or the statutory legislations like the Environment Protection Act 1970, as the provisions of these acts ensure that the environment is maintained while carrying the mining activities (Business, 2017b). Apart from these acts, the jurisdiction in the nation, as was seen in the case of health and safety framework, also require the adherence to certain legislations. So, the company follows the Mineral Resources Development Act 1990 for its operations in Victoria and Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, as well as, Mining Act 1992, for its operations in New South Wales (Chambers, 2013).
The company, before it can begin its mining operations, has to enter into a State Agreement, which contains all the activities or phases of the mining activity. For the individual stages, the company has to get a hold of certain leases and licenses, for its operations in the nation. These include the Mining and general purpose leases, and the licenses for retention, exploration, prospecting or miscellaneous activities (Chambers, 2013).
As has been the purpose of this whole study, a multinational company works in different nations. So, as for each of the jurisdictions in Australia, BHP is required to follow a range of different norms, in the same manner, for having its business in different nations, it has to follow the agreements, treaties or conventions which become applicable on the company, due to its worldwide presence. Some of such applicable norms have been covered in the ensuing parts.
In the previous segment, it was highlighted how the human resource is the strength of BHP Billiton. Humans have to be treated with dignity and respect. And to deal with this particular aspect, the company makes certain attempts towards both the realization and the respecting of human rights. Recognizing the significance of this aspect, the company abides by the provisions given by the United Nations, i.e., the UN, in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are other frameworks given by the UN, which are also followed by BHP Billiton, and these are the 10 UN Global Compact principles, along with the United Nations in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even though, these are not directly applied by the company, but their reflection can be noticed in the company’s Code of Business. A Sustainability Committee Board has been adopted by the company, which monitors the performance of human rights with the company. This particular board ensures that the HSEC, i.e., the health, safety, environment and community connected performance of the company, is monitored properly (BHP Billiton, 2016b).
The company took its way out from the OTML (Ok Tedi Mining Limited) in the year of 2002. For this, there was a transfer of shares to the PNGSDP (PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited) for the shares which were held by the company in OTML. This was accompanied by taking a way out from the statutory undertaking through which the company was protected by any such claims which could be raised by PNGP (Papua New Guinea Parliament) pertaining to the environment. When the PNHP acquired the shares, in September 2013, which were held by the PNSHDP in OTML, the exit arranged was modified/ amended and along with this the guarantee was also repeated. Upon a challenge being raised to the validity of these particular actions, the company was successful in securing the indemnity. The company made a promise in the direction of making certain that the long term funds held by PNGSDP would be governed properly, for the use of the PNGP’s people. This particular agreement and its resulting arrangement could be seen in its financial position, as the same proved as a costly affair for BHP Billiton (BHP Billiton, 2016b).
The company has been criticized, time and again for the impact of its mining operations over the environment. And the criticism is not within the walls of this nation, but abroad also. A claim was raised against the company and two other participants in the last parts of 2015, by the Federal Government of Brazil, along with other institutes and people and the amount of claims was as high as R$20 billion.
To deal with the same, the company formulated an agreement with the other parties, so that the environment and the affected community, as a result of the dam failure, could be properly restored (BHP Billiton, 2016b).
In part of its tax treaties, the company has signed the Australian Tax Treaty, which helps in avoiding the double taxation. This particular treaty has been created between the US and Australia. Hence, the applicability of this particular treaty helps in avoiding the 30% taxes which are normally applied in the United States (BHP Billiton, 2016b).
Both the use and export of AOMN (Australian Obligated Nuclear Material) is controlled through the Government of Australia and this is done in strict manner. The AONM is sold to the NPT (Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) parties or when the same is subjected to a bilateral safeguards agreement. A new bilateral agreement is needed for the company to export the copper concentrate as the same contains uranium. Through this bilateral agreement, the uranium containing copper concentrate could be easily exported for processing in China by the company. The reason for an agreement is due to the surety, which has to be taken to show that the uranium which has been recovered has been subjected to the company’s accounting and general requirements (BHP Billiton, 2011).
BHP Billiton is a signatory to the Bali Agreement and hence, the company has entered into an agreement with others for raising awareness about the climate. This has been done by an international agreement which is in the line of the MARPOL Treaty, i.e., the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MOL, 2017). The company expects to create 50 million jobs and raise the trade by a value of $3 trillion, through the implementation of the same (Maher, 2014).
BHP Billiton. (2011) 27 Product Stewardship and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. [Online] BHP Billiton. Available from: https://www.bhpbilliton.com/-/media/bhp/regulatory-information-media/copper/olympic-dam/0000/supplementary-eis-main-report/chapter-27-product-stewardship-and-the-nuclear-fuel-cycle.pdf [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
BHP Billiton. (2016a) Annual Report 2016. [Online] BHP Billiton. Available from: https://www.bhpbilliton.com/investor-centre/annual-reporting-2016/annual-report [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
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Business Review Australia. (2013) Australia's Largest Companies 2013. [Online] Business Review Australia. Available from: https://www.businessreviewaustralia.com/top10/1166/Australia%27s-Largest-Companies-2013 [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Business. (2017a) WHS/OH&S acts, regulations and codes of practice. [Online] Australian Government. Available from: https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/workplace-health-and-safety/whs-oh-and-s-acts-regulations-and-codes-of-practice [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Business. (2017b) Environmental legislation. [Online] Australian Government. Available from: https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/environmental-management/environmental-legislation [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Chambers, R.H. (2013) An Overview of the Australian Legal Framework for Mining Projects in Australia. [Online] Chambers & Company. Available from: https://www.chamberslawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/10/060518-Presentation-Eng.pdf [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Dick, H., and Merrett, D. (2007) The Internationalisation Strategies of Small-country Firms: The Australian Experience of Globalisation. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 258- 262.
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FTSE. (2015) BHP Billiton PLC (UK) and BHP Billiton Ltd (Australia): Demerger of South32 Ltd. [Online] FTSE. Available from: https://www.ftse.com/products/index-notices/home/getnotice/?id=1357423 [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
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Maher, S. (2014) Bali trade treaty ‘must be signed’, says BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie. [Online] The Australian. Available from: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bali-trade-treaty-must-be-signed-says-bhp-billiton-chief-executive-andrew-mackenzie/news-story/2b6fa58df7b77937a8065039aa66c837 [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Mining Global. (2015) 2015 Edition: Best Mining Companies to Work for in Australia. [Online] Mining Global. Available from: https://www.miningglobal.com/top10/1364/2015-Edition:-Best-Mining-Companies-to-Work-for-in-Australia [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
MOL. (2017) MOL Teams up with BHP Billiton/DNV GL/Rio Tinto/SDARI/Woodside on Joint Study of LNG-fueled Capesize Bulker - Initiative on Environmental Protection Ahead of International Rules. [Online] MOL. Available from: https://www.mol.co.jp/en/pr/2017/17004.html [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Norman Disney & Young. (2013) BHP Billiton Global Headquarters. [Online] Norman Disney & Young. Available from: https://www.ndy.com/project/bhp-billiton-global-headquarters-171-collins-street-melbourne [Accessed on: 22/04/17]
Thompson, P., and Macklin, R. (2010) The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton. Melbourne: Random House Australia.
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