Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s East Pilbara Remote Operations Centre is rapidly taking shape, with walls now up and windows in place.
The desks have been delivered and it is starting to look like a control room.
East Pilbara operations support manager Andy Duffield said most of the technical issues had been sorted out and the control room was due to be finished by the end of September.
“During the pre-pilot trial, the main concern for the pit controllers was that the speed of the modular mining system was too slow and it took too long to respond,” he said.
“A faster responding remote access connection has now been developed and tested, resulting in significant improvement in this area.
“Another big concern from the controller group was the need to be able to remain a part of the team and participate in general discussions on-site even though they would be operating the control room from Perth.
“We have identified a few technologies that will help us run a ‘virtual window’ between the site and Perth to enable face-to-face conversation at anytime of the day or night.”
A one-day workshop has been held in Perth involving control room operators from each site. The workshop has helped identify the major issues and concerns as we prepare to relocate controllers to Perth.
The workshop also identified strategies and possible solutions to help make the transition as stress free as possible.
There is plenty of work to do before the next controller workshop is held and we hope to have some positive outcomes for the group to discuss.
This article was first published in Coastal News [September 2007, Issue No. 3] – Rio Tinto’s Coastal Division Newsletter.