BMA’S Daunia Mine. Picture: BMA
BMA’S Daunia Mine. Picture: BMA

Union claims miners ‘not consulted’ over automation plan

A MINERS' union has accused BMA of failing to consult with workers over today's announcement that it will introduce driverless trucks its Daunia Mine.

The CFMEU said the shift to automation would greatly impact on jobs and the way work was performed.

Its mining and energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said BMA's approach to today's announcement was "arrogant".

"BHP is simply barging ahead with automation without taking into consideration the views and concerns of those workers whose livelihood is affected," Mr Smyth said.

"They are only consulting once their plans are already in place, when the horse has already bolted."

BMA has strongly denied the union's claims.

Earlier today, BMA asset president James Palmer said the miner had engaged with its Daunia workforce about the possible shift to automation over the past 18 months.

Mr Smyth said the union would hold BMA to account over its statement that no permanent or labour hire jobs would be lost to due the autonomous truck rollout.


CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright

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The union has called on the mining giant to commit to any new jobs created being based in Central Queensland and not in remote operation centres thousands of kilometres away.

"BHP needs to be able to demonstrate to its host community that its mines are delivering social and economic benefit and the best way that they can do that is through good local jobs," Mr Smyth said.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said she welcomed assurances there would be no job losses associated with the shift to automation at Daunia.

"We have received a firm commitment from BMA that no jobs will be lost from the region through this move to autonomous haulage at Daunia," Cr Baker said.

"I welcome the advice that BMA will modify its existing control room onsite to house the autonomous haulage system controllers at Daunia and no existing roles will relocate to Brisbane."

Burdekin MP Dale Last said the announcement showed mine automation could occur alongside job protection.

BMA employees with a Caterpillar truck. Picture: Nat Dixon
BMA employees with a Caterpillar truck. Picture: Nat Dixon

"In fact, this project will create jobs and provide an opportunity for some workers to improve their skills or embrace a completely new set of skills," Mr Last said.

"Given the expectation that automation will make the site safer, there will be no job losses and this will help to prolong the life of the mine, I think BMA should be acknowledged for their initiative in taking this step."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Queensland coal industry was an early adopter of new technology.

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"What we are seeing from the resources sector, such as BMA today, is companies building hi-tech capacity into their operations to improve safety and efficiency," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Queensland's resources industry will continue to invest in technology to ensure it maintains leading practices in safety and innovation which will secure the sector's competitiveness over other mining jurisdictions around the world."