BHP moving toward “next generation” mining

BHP Billiton says it will focus on automated equipment and new technology as it moves toward “next generation mining”.

Fairfax Media reports BHP vice president of mine optimisation Gavin Yeates said the company was looking to new technology to improve its business.

 

“We are piloting and introducing new technologies in selected assets including integrated remote operating centres, autonomous haulage, autonomous drilling and different ways of evaluating and modelling ore bodies,” he said.

 

“We're actually at the cusp of moving to what we're calling 'Next Generation Mining'. This is driven on one hand by technology advances in autonomy and sensing. That coincides with a drive for growth in far more complex, deeper, lower-grade ore bodies.”

 

While rival Rio Tinto has been outspoken about its focus on new technology, BHP has chosen to make a slower transition, particularly in the Pilbara where it can still rely on high quality ore deposits.

 

Along with Rio and BHP, Brazilian mining giant Vale has also flagged a focus on new technology.

 

Last year news emerged Vale was working on removing trucks from its largest iron ore mine, and the company also released details about a project using 'copper eating' bacteria to mine mineral waste.

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