TECHNOLOGY

VR helps prep mining recruits

AN ANGLO American-developed virtual reality laboratory aims to revolutionise workforce development and readiness in the mining industry.

 The lab is designed to equip mining professionals, training organisations and community groups with immersive experiences.

The lab is designed to equip mining professionals, training organisations and community groups with immersive experiences.

Anglo American, which operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland's Bowen Basin, has partnered with the Resources Centre of Excellence to deliver a purpose-built, fully integrated VR laboratory to better prepare workers for the mine site.

The lab is designed to equip mining professionals, training organisations and community groups with immersive experiences and advanced learning tools.

The collaboration will let users gain access to more than 20 training modules, ranging from critical safety protocols to advanced mining techniques and technologies.

A growing list of courses includes working at height, hazard identification, boom and scissor lift operation, hand safety, and working with hazardous substances. There is also potential to develop site-specific courses.

Anglo American Australia chief executive Dan van der Westhuizen said the VR lab would become a vital companion to on-the-job training, letting workers learn key skills in a safe and supportive environment.

"Anglo American is committed to technological advancements that improve the way our steelmaking coal mines operate, through using underground automation technology, remote operation and data analytics to improve safety and sustainability," he said.

"This new partnership exemplifies our commitment to fostering innovation and preparing the mining workforce for the future.

"New technologies will require new skills and the lab is a significant step forward in harnessing virtual reality to train and upskill our teams.

"Training outcomes from the VR lab can be seamlessly integrated into a company's learning management systems, making continuous learning and skills development easy."

Van der Westhuizen said the lab could be used for graduate assessment, trades assessment and onboarding, site inductions and industry problem solving.

"But it's not just about our workers, it's about empowering the entire industry and the next generation of mining professionals," he said.

RCOE chief executive Steven Boxall said he looked forward to booking in mining companies, training organisations and community groups to use the VR lab for anything from training solutions and problem solving to technology trials.

"Everyone is talking about virtual reality but it's hard to test and trial it without access to the hardware and the relevant training platform," he said.

"Anglo American's support has enabled our region to now have access to all of that via Next World Enterprises who developed the VR platform. So whether you are a school group, a training organisation, or a company looking at doing things differently, we've now got access to this right here in Mackay.

"This partnership connects Anglo American into the Resources Centre of Excellence vision across

"Stages 1, 2 and 3, which ultimately expands our offering out to Moranbah and helps support those mining sites into the future."

Aquila Mine general manager Shane McDowall, who has also been RCOE board chairman for the past year, said virtual reality technology could pave the way for a new era in training for mine sites like his.

"As Anglo American reimagines mining to improve people's lives, we want to be at the forefront of digital transformation," he said.

"Being able to immerse new-to-industry personnel in real-world situations without the presence of hazards will help raise awareness around hazards and fundamental controls required in our industry."

 

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