Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely

BHP Billiton and its coal joint venture partners are seeking to travel down the same innovation path as its iron ore operations in Western Australia with the development of a new Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) that will provide a comprehensive view of its Australian-based coal assets in Central Queensland and New South Wales.
Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely Innovation at BHP coal to be controlled remotely

Stock piles at BMA's Caval Ridge mine. Image courtesy of contract miner Leighton.

Lou Caruana

The introduction of an IROC at BHP Billiton’s new Brisbane HQ offices will feature a world-class, purpose built control floor providing a real-time view of operations from the mine pits to the ports.

This will mean BHP can more effectively replicate its best practices at each and every site.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) owns and operates seven metallurgical coal mines in the Bowen Basin and the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay. BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) owns and operates two open cut metallurgical coal mines in the Bowen Basin and BHP Billiton owns and operates the Mt Arthur Coal (MAC) thermal coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

“The IROC will ensure we can optimise our production supply chain at every point in the cycle and deliver substantial, sustainable savings for our business, providing us with a significant competitive edge,” it said.

“As a centre of excellence the IROC represents an unprecedented opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation in our industry. It will ensure our coal operations can quickly and effectively embed improvements across our different operations.”

BHP Billiton introduced an IROC at our Western Australian Iron Ore operations in 2012 and has already exceeded the expected productivity, efficiency and supply chain benefits.

“We’re confident the IROC for our coal operations will yield similar upsides,” BHP said.

“When fully operational, the IROC will employ approximately 200 highly-skilled and highly-trained people in a range of new roles, many of whom will be drawn directly from existing site operations.

“This means there will be a range of exciting new opportunities and career development pathways for our employees.

“We understand that this type of innovative change to the way we operate can also bring uncertainty and displacement for some people, and we will be working closely with our employees to communicate regularly with them through this process.”

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