BHP innovation centre boosts WA operations

The Jimblebar mine. Image: BHP

Since its introduction two years ago, BHP’s innovation centre at Eastern Ridge, Western Australia has been a hub for creating, monitoring and understanding data.

One of the new technologies being used includes acoustic equipment monitoring, as BHP’s focus shifts from making bigger equipment and vehicles to optimising its existing equipment and processes, boosting productivity.

BHP innovation centre director Jamie Bennett said technology such as acoustic equipment monitoring gives the company access to real-time information to improve its decision-making processes.

An example of this is pedestrian avoidance technology, which reduces safety incidents around the mine site.

“These technologies are tested in a controlled environment before being deployed across other sites,” Bennett explained.

“As we progress, the centre will inform the design and implementation of initiatives across BHP’s supply chain covering geology, extraction, processing and transport.”

Bennett said this real-time control can improve ore quality and grade delivered to processing plants, and BHP aims to manage future operations under a single system, to improve predictability, reliability and stability.

BHP is also developing live mine scheduling in-house at the innovation centre, which also uses real-time data to produce faster and higher quality mine schedules.

“It allows mine schedulers to analyse and combine disparate data sets to improve load and haul operations,” Bennett said.

BHP has been using data analytics to help predict when rollers on conveyor belts need to be replaced and to monitor trucks, analysing road conditions to determine if they require repairs.

Bennett said BHP is able to find solutions using data that may not have previously been considered to be possible as technology continues to advance.

“While we can’t predict what technological advances will emerge in the long term, we can accelerate and deliver the innovations that build capability and set us up for the future,” he said.

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