‘Star wars’ technology being taken up by the mining industry will have implications for both efficiency and safety, managing director of Safety Wise Solutions Gerry Gibb has said.
Gibb told the 670 delegates present at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference in Townsville that the new wave of mining equipment allows it to be operated remotely, even thousands of kilometres from a mine site, allowing operators to work from safe locations.
Gibb said the mining industry is able to benefit from the sort of remote operation technology being used by NASA for missions on the moon.
However, Gibb also said it was important to put systems in place to protect people from automated machinery.
According to Gibb, the new generation of equipment may also help attract Generation-Y to the industry.
“It’s more appealing to Generation-Y who want nothing difficult, dull, dirty or dangerous,” he said.
Gibb said automation was beneficial to an ageing workforce, and improved the work of novice employees.