Following the successful introduction of a Supply Innovation program in Chile, BHP is now piloting this same platform at its Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium mine in South Australia, Rag Udd, VP Technology Global Transformation at BHP, told delegates at the AustMine 2019 conference in Brisbane, Australia, this week.
Speaking at the packed event – reported to have broken past attendance records – Udd said BHP was looking to local suppliers to “solve challenges and, in turn, stimulate innovation” and could potentially expand the use of this platform throughout Australia.
He said the company needed to work differently to achieve its new procurement goals, which included “removing barriers to doing business with us”.
Udd pointed to the company’s Supply Innovation program, which originated in Chile, as evidence of the company’s progress in this space.
“This program has seen us create an open platform to connect our unique mining challenges with local suppliers and innovators,” he told delegates.
Rather than ask for a specific service or equipment – as has often been the way in the past – the platform enables suppliers to bring their innovations to the mining major, he said.
It was this platform that led to BHP introducing a new Trommel Maintenance Robot at its majority-owned Escondida copper operation, in Chile. Developed collaboratively by FLSmidth and local Chilean supplier MIRS, the robotic arm has benefits for safety and productivity, according to BHP.
Udd said the company is now piloting this program at Olympic Dam, with a view to establishing the platform on a national basis.