BHP’s Mike Henry talks up technology

December 1, 2019 Mining Editor

Mike Henry, BHPs CEO elect has reinforced the importance of the application of mining technologies to improve the sector from a range of perspectives including mining safety.

Speaking at last week’s Resources Technology Showcase in Perth, Henry told the audience “Technology is critical to this industry. Technology will do everything! It will help us lift performance. Make us safer. Reduce costs. Grow value”

Henry who spent the week in Perth and in Singapore told the audience that It was uplifting to hear about opportunities that BHP Technology Teams see for the future of mining highlighting that technology would “make this industry even safer, more productive and more competitive”

Mike Henry BHP incoming CEO talks up application of technology to improve safety
Mike Henry

“Already within our Australian minerals business, we are using seismic technology from Petroleum to better understand our coal resources, produce better mine plans, reduce costs and mitigate risks. We are using some of the safety practices being adopted in our offshore Petroleum operations to inform how we can keep people safer in our onshore mining operations, including here in WA” Henry said.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing

Henry emphasised the importance of collaboration between sectors to improving safe performance.

“Just last year, we reached out and sought support from Woodside Petroleum and Deakin University to help solve for a safety issue we were dealing with underground in one of our nickel mines down south. We had a valve under pressure that needed to be removed, but the risks were such that we couldn’t introduce people to the area. Woodside and Deakin lent us the robots and expertise that enabled us to resolve the issue with people operating remotely. This is a great example of the sort of opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing between sectors that is easier here in WA than perhaps anywhere else in the world” Henry added.

Henry also talked up the METS sector in Western Australia highlighting that he believed more effective partnering between producers and the sector was a key to success. “We can both uplift performance in our business and we can enable local METS companies to develop new products and services that allow them to thrive and compete on the global stage”

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Innovation and value creation key to future success

Henry emphasised the importance of value creation and innovation saying that being successful in the sector meant innovating and applying technology better than others.

“This is a significant focus at BHP. This will enable us to keep our people safe, reduce costs, improve reliability, and increase our capital efficiency. It will enable us to reduce our impact on the environment and it will give rise to more fulfilling jobs. A more sustainable, more competitive and more attractive industry”

Mike Henry, CEO Elect, BHP, Speaking at the WA Resources Technology Showcase

“Today technology has helped to make us safer, more predictable and more focused than ever before. However, there is potential is so much greater. The opportunities abound.”

Chief Transformation Officer highlights opportunities

BHP’s Chief Transformation Officer, Jonathan Price spoke of the importance of BHP’s Innovation Centre in Welshpool during a separate session at the mining technology conference.

“There, we are giving our people the time, space and funding to turn ideas into reality. It is quite literally a space to bring ideas to life using our own resources or partnering with others. We encourage our people to think big, fail fast, learn and improve” Price told the conference.

“One great initiative that has resulted from this work is a pedestrian avoidance system that is fitted to forklifts to improve safety. This has been developed and tested in house –piloted at Eastern Ridge in Newman, Port Hedland and Nickel West”

The system uses video and audio detection together with an alert system that provides forklift operators with 360° detection of personnel near forklift machinery. It reportedly reduced safety incidents that have previously occurred due to poor visibility.

Price told the technology conference that the tech transformation at BHP Goonyella Riverside mine would involve a significant commitment to training and as many as 100 new roles.

“And at our Goonyella mine in Queensland, automation will create 100 new roles in maintenance, control and technology. To prepare our people for this we will deploy 40,000 hours of training across the workforce” Price said.

Henry’s full speech is available on the BHP website

Image: BHP

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