BHP Billiton has announced donating $17 million to the University of Western Australia’s New Century Campaign, supporting students for the institution’s Engineering Zone and programs to attract more female engineers to its business school. This was part of BHP’s Community Development Program, investing $200 million since 2008 in regional health, education and infrastructure initiatives.

Jimmy Wilson, BHP president, Iron Ore, said the partnership reflected BHP’s commitment to all levels of education in Western Australia. “Our investment,” he said, “builds on the $55 million we have donated to primary, secondary and tertiary education, vocational training and employment programs over the past five years.”

Faculty of engineering, computing and math will receive $12 million toward creation of a world-class Engineering Zone, a BHP Billiton Fellowship in Engineering for Remote Operations and BHP Billiton Scholarships, according to company representatives.

The zone will provide physical, technological and resource infrastructure for multidimensional approaches to real-world troubleshooting. Engineers will join students from other disciplines — including UWA’s Business School — to tackle sustainability, living standards and resource management.

The BHP Billiton investment includes $5 million to support UWA’s Business School, with funds for increasing the ranks of high-achieving female engineers. In addition, BHP Billiton’s Business School support includes scholarships, a research fellowship, engagement opportunities with scholarship recipients and alumni, and a high-profile visiting professors’ program.

Around $1 million in funding, BHP added, will encourage high domestic and international candidates seeking a business administration degree; past UWA collaborations with BHP have also included other scholarships and infrastructure.