Australian mining magnate pledges $48 million to fire relief

Last Update: January 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm


January 2020



Australian mining magnate pledges $48 million to fire relief

Australian billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has pledged 70 million Australian dollars ($48.1 million) in aid for the country’s bushfire crisis, joining a growing list of celebrities chipping in to fight the fires.

Forrest is the founder of Fortescue Metals Group, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, and Minara Resources — one of Australia’s biggest nickel mining companies. The huge donation will come from the Minderoo Foundation, a philanthropic organization he founded with his wife, Nicola Forrest.
 total of 10 million Australian dollars ($6.9 million) will go toward specialist volunteers from Forrest’s home state, Western Australia. Another 10 million Australian dollars will be allocated to immediate relief funding, while the remaining 50 million Australian dollars ($34.3 million) will be set aside to develop a “long-term blueprint for fire resilience,” according to a statement from the foundation.
“At Minderoo Foundation, we want to provide immediate relief because, like so many other West Australians, we mourn the hardships of our fellow countrymen and women,” Forrest said in the statement. “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers, but we want to understand what communities need and do our bit to help them now and as they regroup in the coming months.”
The bushfires have been burning for months now and have devastated large swathes of the country. A total of 27 people have died nationwide since this year’s fire season began, and more than 2,600 homes have been destroyed or damaged in the state of New South Wales (NSW) alone.
About half a billion animals have been impacted by fire in NSW, and the number could be as high as a billion nationwide, according to University of Sydney ecologists.
Many have pointed to climate change as a factor exacerbating the fires, and have heavily criticized Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his climate policy and support for coal mines. “(Coal) is a national addiction,” climate scientist Tim Flannery told CNN earlier this week. “It’s a tragic situation where self-interest is seeing such great damage inflicted upon the people and the nature of our country.”