BHP has commenced its first Supplier Innovation Program pilot project with Jord International to collaborate on establishing a new industry benchmark for filter press maintenance.
Jord International has been awarded a contract at the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Caval Ridge mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin to implement a unique solution for improving filter press maintenance processes and safety.
The project is the inaugural pilot awarded through the Supplier Innovation Program challenge process, which BHP launched in June 2020 in partnership with Austmine.
The first challenge was focussed on safety at BMA and garnered the interest of 235 suppliers across Australia, with 21 providing expressions of interest to put forward a solution.
Jord was selected as the standout submission from a highly competitive final field of nine mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies that presented a proposal to BMA.
This open innovation and collaborative challenge process is being replicated at other BMA sites in Queensland, along with BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore (WAIO) and Olympic Dam operations in South Australia.
Jord will now have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the fixed plant maintenance team at the Caval Ridge mine to pilot its solution. If successful, it will potentially establish an industry benchmark for a known issue across the industry.
The solution proposed by Jord will eliminate the man and machine interaction with the development of a belt cartridge installer, which is self-contained in a lightweight steel body that allows lifting by the overhead gantry crane.
The cartridge will also enable forklifts to transport it while on the ground. This process will remove the operator from the filter area.
BHP group procurement officer James Agar says the Supplier Innovation Program enabled the mining company to crowdsource a broader range of unique and innovative solutions to business challenges.
“With filter press belt replacements, it is a time consuming task with lots of manual handling. While there are processes in place to control the risks around that task, the new solution proposed through this innovation program eliminates the need for maintainers to be in physical contact with the filter press altogether,” Agar says.
Jord International general manager – minerals, Kevin Barber, says: “The (Supply Innovation Program) process was very open with feedback shared and accepted by both parties.
“It has been a great opportunity to be engaged in solving a problem that you would otherwise not have been aware of.”
Jord senior design engineer Craig Samuel adds: “Creating a safer environment is the pinnacle of an engineer’s ethos and it’s incorporated in everything we design.”
BHP acting vice president procurement excellence Amanda O’Conner says: “We look forward to partnering with Jord to implement a successful solution eliminating safety risks and ensuring our people go home safe every day.”
The Supplier Innovation Program builds upon the BHP and Austmine strategic partnership, which is focussed on bringing people and resources together to maximise value-chain opportunities and further strengthen the competitiveness of the Australian METS and mining sectors.
The program forms part of BHP’s commitment to supporting regional supply chains and the economic diversification and sustainability of regional communities across Australia.
As the industry shifts towards more remote and technologically-enabled operations, the ability to build and leverage local capability, and continue to demonstrate our social value contribution, will be critical to both our competitive advantage and reputation.
The Supplier Innovation Program allows BHP to crowdsource a broader range of unique and innovative solutions to business problems.
It represents a significant shift from the tender methods traditionally used to engage suppliers. The program makes it easier for the METS sector to access project opportunities, access new avenues for collaboration and to put forward solutions while retaining intellectual property.
BHP and Austmine are partnering on a number of challenges within the Supplier Innovation Program, focussing on areas such as reclaim tunnel cleaning, port safety, conveyor roller handling and oversize rock detection.
We look forward to sharing more information about the results of these challenge processes over the coming months.
To keep up to date with the Supplier Innovation Program visit Austmine’s webpage.