"It’s a plan for safer jobs. It’s a plan for reskilling and upskilling."

Published On : 31 Jul 2019


BHP has declared in an investor meeting that they have started a feasibility project to introduce up to 500 new autonomous trucks across their operations in Australia. This follows the successful trial of the trucks at the Jimblebar mine in WA. BHP labelled the success of the project as ‘extraordinary’.

BMA Asset President did acknowledge that this transition will eventually mean that the business would require lesser operators but did assure everyone that the loss of operators would not necessarily mean the loss of jobs. Technology is changing jobs in every industry and mining is no different. The introduction of autonomous trucks will generate new jobs. Those that are less physical and routine. There will be a need for controllers, builders and technicians. Mr Palmer said that the new jobs would be more dynamic and fulfilling. Mr Udd, the vice president of Technology Global Transformation said, “This is not a one-way conversation about fewer jobs. It’s a plan for safer jobs. It’s a plan for reskilling and upskilling. It’s a plan for re-designed roles and creation of entirely new ones.”

Mr Udd also said that safety was one of the driving forces behind the movement to autonomous trucks. Collisions has always been a recurring cause of injuries and loss of life on large mine sites. Autonomous trucks can change this. In Jimblebar, since the introduction of the trucks, there has been a 90% reduction in incidents involving haul trucks.

BHP believes that the future of the industry and the competition between the bigger players would be very heavily reliant on the acceptance of transformative technology. “Its rapid. Its disruptive, its game changing. And it’s the only game in town.”

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