BHP has revealed details surrounding its ambitious growth plans, sharing the technology and transformation agenda being undertaken in response to changing work conditions.
Vice president of technology, global transformation Rag Udd highlighted how BHP plans to stay ahead of competitors through enhanced skills and capabilities, safer operations and faster movement of resources to market.
Udd, while pointing out BHP’s approach to transformation and technology has been one of “evolution, not revolution,” said in order to thrive in the current landscape, said an attitude of incremental growth would not cut it.
He revealed the direction the company was headed, including the installation of hundreds of sensors into its prep plants at Blackwater coal mine in Central Queensland.
The project has allowed BHP to provide real-time information from equipment to field, while using drones is allowing the company to gather more information about its sites than ever before.
It coincides with “ambitious” plans to introduce up to 500 autonomous trucks at open cut operations across both the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and BHP Iron Ore businesses.
Udd has a simple response to the misconception that transformative technology did not involve people.
“That’s simply not true… the fact is that technology is only as good as the people who run it,” Udd said.
BHP is also focussed on supporting Australia’s workforce and responded to calls to reduce long-term labour hire and create more permanent employment.
Udd pointed to investment in BHP’s operations services, which has resulted in 400 new full-time jobs within its Queensland operations, while soon commencing recruitment of another 400 permanent roles.
BHP also pointed to preparing the next generation and in particular regional communities for the challenges that technology brought.
The company’s partnership with the Queensland Government in the recently announced Resources Centre of Excellence highlighted this, with BHP committing $475,000 in funding.
Featuring an underground mining simulator, research lab and state of the art education facilities, Udd emphasised that this was another “vote of confidence in Central Queensland, an area that (BHP) intends to be part of for the long-haul.”
While the company’s intention to face future technological development head-on is clear, Udd urged all stakeholders involved to “convert our conversations into action.”
This includes collaborating with all levels of government and capitalising on the vast potential of regional Queensland, which Udd describes as “the engine room for the state’s economy.”