AUTOMATION: BMA has revealed it will rollout driverless vehicle technology over the next two years at the Goonyella Riverside mine site. Picture: Christian Sprogoe Photography
AUTOMATION: BMA has revealed it will rollout driverless vehicle technology over the next two years at the Goonyella Riverside mine site. Picture: Christian Sprogoe Photography

BHP moves ahead with mine automation plan

With All eyes on BHP Mitsubishi Alliance following the mining giant’s decision to automate a Central Queensland mine, the first moves have been made to upskill workers for the automated roles in the form of a job vacancy.

After a recently announced Queensland Future Skills Partnership between TAFE Queensland, CQUniversity and BMA, the group is now searching for a program ­manager to oversee the ­development and rollout of new automation qualifications and skills.

The partnership will guide the work required to identify and build the future skills needed in Queensland’s resources workforce, including the mapping of existing skills against the future requirements for Industry 4.0, according to TAFE Queensland executive director Robert Petherbridge.

Robert Petherbridge Executive Director TAFE Queensland (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)
Robert Petherbridge Executive Director TAFE Queensland (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)

“We know that as the world of work changes and the rate of occupational change increases due to new technology ­adoption, the need to re-skill and up-skill the existing workforce is more critical than ever,” Mr Petherbridge said.

The Queensland Future Skills Partnership aims to ­facilitate the development and delivery of new qualifications in open-cut mining operations.

BMA last month ­announced it would introduce autonomous haulage trucks at the Goonyella Riverside mine in Central Queensland.

BMA Asset president James Palmer. Photo Mark Cranitch.
BMA Asset president James Palmer. Photo Mark Cranitch.

Asset president James Palmer said the partnership would drive innovation in new approaches to skilling the resources industry workforce for “jobs of the future”.

“As we enter the fourth ­industrial revolution, we are considering how we transform our technology and our workforce,” he said.

“The partnership will define the first wave of new skills that are required to support ­technological advances, and to establish the educational ­opportunities for individuals to acquire these skills.”

Mr Palmer said BMA was eager to explore the potential opportunity for a new ­traineeship qualification while expanding existing trade ­apprenticeships to include autonomous competencies to create autonomous mine ­controllers.

Mr Petherbridge said the partnership was an excellent example of Queensland’s public training providers working closely with industry.

“It is great to be working with BMA as an industry ­partner who is committed to growing their own workforce to meet the skill needs of tomorrow, at the same time as increasing the availability of new training programs in regional areas,” he said.

CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor, Vocational Education and Training, Mr Peter Heilbuth said the “innovative” partnership was a step forward when it came to engaging with future-focused industries.

“This skills partnership will be a gamechanger when it comes to developing ­innovative training, that ­supports future workforce ­requirements within the mining industry,” Mr Heilbuth said.

The program manager position is available on Seek.com.au.

Applications close on January 18, 2020.