BHP resurrects old video in support of automation

November 14, 2019 Mining Editor

In the wake of the BHP Goonyella Riverside automation row with unions and members of the Queensland Opposition, BHP has resurrected parts of a July 2017 video shot at Jimblebar mine in early 2017 with staff ‘talking up’ the benefits of automation of mining trucks.

But some mine workers, who contacted AMSJ, have hit out at BHP saying that “The video seeks to obfuscate the loss of jobs and placate public and mine worker anger at the proposed loss of 340 positions at the Goonyella Riverside mine.”

“It’s typical of BHP’s attempt to obscure the facts…there’s no bottom line,” they said on condition of anonymity.

The workers say the video seeks to allay fears with the safe operation of autonomous trucks. Those fears are currently held by many plant operators at BMA coal operations particularly because there have been no successful trials conducted in coal operations.

The CFMEU predicts many mines may become automated in Queensland following the Goonyella Riverside project. The nett result is that frontline mineworker jobs will gradually disappear.

The new video with cuts from the 2017 video posted to the BHP Queensland and NSW Facebook page yesterday has had 3000 views. It was reportedly shot in mid-2017 at the Jimblebar site and features staff including Production Technician Jared Harper, System Builder AHS Renee Wade, Analyst Mine Production Todd Pascoe, Manager Mine Production Rod Ballinger, Technician Mechanical Sam Jury, Trainer Assessor Adam Baillie, Stephen Pickett-Bolton Production Technician.

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Some mineworkers told AMSJ that systems like LiDAR and cameras remain highly vulnerable in that they mainly rely on line of sight to work accurately.

They say blockages in line of sight through BERMS may reduce safety.

In an interview yesterday discussing BHPs claim that autonomous trucks improve safety, CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said “We are yet to see that!  You know what they’re doing,  it is it going to have a mixture of automation and people still operating the equipment so you going to have that interaction. So again this about what is safer in their (BHP) views.

“There’s obviously going to be a review of what the safety and health management system involving the workers who are going to do the tasks.  They keep preaching how safe it is, but we’ve still seen incidents in WA, which BHP should be fully aware of,  their automated trains, at some of their operations where they continue to have truck collisions.”

The former video produced in 2017 below. You can watch the newly released video here

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