Anglo American to use data to improve safety and performance

ANGLO American has opened a Met Coal Analytics Centre at its Brisbane office that will bring together operational, engineering and data science experts to look at major challenges and opportunities for the future of the company’s mines.

Anglo American coal business CEO Tyler Mitchelson.

Anglo American coal business CEO Tyler Mitchelson.

It has also begun a series of workforce briefings at its Grosvenor mine and its other Queensland operations to further update staff on plans to improve safety and controls through data science and technical innovation ahead of restarting longwall mining at Grosvenor mine in the second half of 2021.

Anglo American Metallurgical Coal business CEO Tyler Mitchelson said as the largest underground miner in Australia, the company was uniquely positioned to leverage its own data and technology to transform the way it analysed data to drive safer operations, better decisions and achieve mining excellence.

"The first priority for this centre will be in underground operations gas and ventilation management," he said.

"We will immediately begin a global scan of data science and technical options to improve predictive modelling in this area, as well as improvements in gas drainage.

"While investigations are still underway, we are continuing to improve controls across our mines, as information becomes available."

This work includes piloting the use of pressure sensors to cut power to the longwall, and the bolstering of Anglo American's plans for remote operation in its underground mines.

"Our target is to be fully remote capable this year, and we have made strong progress with the technology we have in place at our Moranbah North Mine in recent weeks," Mitchelson said.

"Removing people from potential harm is the best way to improve safety in underground mining.

"We are seeing positive early results from laboratory testing of the pressure sensors as the pilot study progresses. While pressure sensors are already in use, it is new technology to integrate them with equipment to remove power from the longwall face if a significant overpressure event occurs."

Mitchelson said the company was continuing to work through a detailed technical roadmap to safely restart longwall mining at Grosvenor in the second half of next year.

"Throughout this process, we have taken a step-by-step approach to respond to the May 6 incident, including detailed risk assessment processes with internal and external experts.

"The next step for us will be to safety re-enter the mine, to enable the completion of permanent seals and re-establishing mine integrity. Safety comes first, and we're taking the time to ensure mining does not restart until we know it's safe to do so.

"We will ensure that relevant learnings, including from the investigations and the inquiry which are underway, are captured and actioned within our business."

"We are implementing an enhanced Learning from Incidents process to our workforce, that will ensure relevant learning opportunities from all incidents are automatically distributed across our mine sites and accessible to our workforce.

"Recognising the importance of safety in bonus structures, we have further announced a review of the existing structures at our sites with input from our workforce, to look at how we can focus on leading indicators, in line with Anglo American's global Elimination of Fatalities program."

Mitchelson said the company was continuing to support those injured in the May 6 incident and the first responders from Grosvenor mine.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining Monthly Intelligence team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining Monthly Intelligence team.


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