Tag Archives: Olympic Dam

CRC ORE simplifies complexity for value

“There are a lot more variables to bulk ore sorting than just the technology,” Jon Rutter says.

The Principal Geologist of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), Rutter knows his stuff. He has worked underground in both narrow-vein and mass-mining operations, as well as at large scale open-pit mines; in the base and precious metal arena.

During a presentation at International Mining Events’ IPCC Virtual event in early-February, he shared a slice of this knowledge while reviewing a recent installation project CRC ORE had been involved in at a platinum group element (PGE) operation.

“The intrinsic value of bulk ore sorting comes from the delivered heterogeneity,” Rutter said. “We have got to be able to sense and divert a higher-value pod of material versus an adjacent pod of lower-grade material on a conveyor.

“You essentially want to put more material into the mill that adds value – and not what destroys value.”

Looking at the wider bulk sorting opportunity in mining, Rutter explained the sensor diversion units (SDU) in bulk ore sorting were smaller than what the mine itself can typically offer in the form of a selective mining unit (SMU), which may be comprised of a dig block totalling around 15,000 t.

A truck offers a 100-300 t opportunity, while a shovel typically comes with a 50-100 t opportunity.

Even with a modest conveyor running at a 2,000 t/h rate, an on-board sensor (eg PGNAA or PFTNA) running at a 30 second integration time (the time to analyse one grade) would provide an SDU of 16.7 t. A sensor with lower integration time (eg XRF at 10 seconds) comes in at 5.6 t.

The ability to provide analysis down to this level has enticed several major companies into testing bulk ore sorting solutions.

Anglo American has trialled bulk ore sorting solutions at copper and platinum group metal mines, while BHP recently engaged CRC ORE to examine deployment of cutting-edge preconcentration techniques under its Grade Engineering® platform at the Olympic Dam mine, in South Australia.

The SDU with bulk sorting may be that much smaller than the SMU of a typical mine plan, but lab-level precision is not required for these solutions to work, according to Rutter.

“What I need is the ability to measure the metal content adequately,” he said. “When I say adequate, this incorporates the entire error bar of the system. That system includes the inherent geology, the mineralisation style and heterogeneity. We also need to consider the precision, accuracy and integration time – which is the technology constraint; but we also need to include the weightometers, the flop gates, the diversion gates, as well as that entire mining and materials handling process right from the start – from blasting, loading, hauling and dumping to the plant.

“But for bulk ore sorting what I end up requiring from this combined data is usually a binary decision: am I above or below a certain threshold?”

He expands on the bulk ore sorting (BOS) assessment process: “The other way of looking at this is simply considering it as planned ore loss and dilution. If we go back into that dig block, in that 15,000 t of material, I’ve already incorporated planned ore loss and dilution decisions or parameters into that SMU decision. So, if we look at bulk ore sorting, I am just talking about those different attributes – the error bars of a BOS system – as the inputs or parameters for BOS planned ore loss and dilution – it’s now just at a smaller and more precise opportunity.”

The company took a two-phase approach to the BOS opportunity at the PGE operation in question.

The first phase involved carrying out heterogeneity analysis of the orebody; correlation analysis of PGEs to base metals; selection of sensor technologies (XRF and PGNAA were selected in this case), design, layout and equipment selection for the bulk ore sorting plant; natural deportment analysis of the orebody; development of a preliminary business case; the ore type selection and sampling strategy; and project planning and management.

CRC ORE and the company in question settled on a solution where a Caterpillar 992 wheel loader dropped material off to a system using a combination of grizzly, feeder, sizer, conveyors, diverter, stackers and associated equipment from MMD, used in conjunction with an ore sensing system equipped with both PGNAA and XRF sensors to continuously measure the elemental composition. The PGNAA sensor provided a “penetrative” analysis calculation whereas XRF provided a “surface” sensing calculation, Rutter explained.

An incline conveyor ahead of the diverter gate and the accept/reject stream provided the 30 second integration time the PGNAA analyser required.

Phase two of the project involved online and offline (pre-install) work; sensor calibration; proving the technology; and proving the technology can drive physical separation.

Rutter said the completion of static calibration of the sensors saw the PGNAA sensor 20-30% calibrated, and the XRF sensor 70-80% calibrated.

This outcome harked back to Rutter’s assertion that “bulk ore sorting implementation is not a plug and play opportunity”.

A dynamic calibration in online mode completed under normal conditions was required to get the PGNAA sensor up to speed. This process, meanwhile, solidified the operation of the XRF sensor.

While the two sensors were calibrated in different ways, Rutter showed data that confirmed both were in unison when it came to reading the ore/waste that came through the conveyor (see right-hand graph below).

“The two sensors are independent of each other and fundamentally very different, but they can work well together, or separately,” he said.

CRC ORE was able to prove the technology by running the same sample through the circuit a number of times, as Rutter explained: “We fed 15-20 t of run of mine material into the hopper and repeated the process 15 times, putting the same 15-20 t sample through the system. We could then start to determine the precision and accuracy of the sensors and the system.”

For further verification, the sample was crushed, sub sampled and assayed.

“We wanted a binary response to ore and waste to build confidence,” Rutter added.

Phase three involved the ramp up to production scale, going from, say, 500 t/h to 1,000 t/h; carrying out validation by campaign; and finally integrating with the operation.

There were several lessons all mining companies – and bulk sorting vendors – should keep in mind from such a project, Rutter said.

Operations need to assess the impact of mixing across the entire materials and mining handling process as soon as possible, for one.

“The earlier we can put this data into the system, the better,” Rutter said. “Without a heterogeneity signature, we cannot implement bulk ore sorting.”

He also stressed the importance of timely feedback. Sensor calibration, a secondary crushing/sampling plant and assaying were all required to build confidence in the solution.

Rutter added: “The proper calibration of sensors does require a considerable and ongoing effort…but that is no different from any other process plant or equipment.”

Operators also need to be wary of where they set these solutions up in mines, recognising this heterogeneity dynamic.

“Bulk ore sorting is quite unlikely to be universally suited to the entire deposit,” Rutter said. “The analogue for this is a flotation plant; there are ore types in the mine where you achieve better performance in the flotation plant and others where you get worse performance.”

BHP commits Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam ops to reaching Copper Mark

BHP has issued a Letter of Commitment to the Copper Mark Responsible Production Framework that will see its Escondida and Spence operations in Chile, plus its Olympic Dam mine in Australia, fall in line with the voluntary program.

The Copper Mark is a credible assurance framework to demonstrate the copper industry’s responsible production practices and contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, BHP said. The program is designed to hold the copper industry accountable to responsible practices in critical areas including environment, community, human rights and governance issues, according to BHP Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers.

“We know that our long-term sustainability credentials are important to our customers and increasingly important to end consumers of copper products, such as buyers of electric vehicles and copper intensive consumer durables,” Hovers said. “The Copper Mark accreditation is an important step in developing an industry-wide approach to transparency and standards for the copper value chain.”

This year, the Oyu Tolgoi mine, in Mongolia, and the Kennecott operation, in the US, were both awarded the Copper Mark. Freeport McMoRan has also pledged to fall in line with the program at six of its operations.

Hovers added: “The Copper Mark is an independent and credible certification, and will further reinforce the value responsible production of the copper products that we sell to our customers.”

BHP has set targets to reduce its emissions by 30% by 2030, along with a goal of net zero emissions by 2050, Hovers said. In Chile, at Escondida, the company is also aiming to operate using 100% renewable power and 100% desalinated water.

“We know that copper is essential to the energy transition, but equally important to our customers, our investors, our employees, our communities, and our stakeholders across the copper value chain is ethical and sustainable production of copper – where production is in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals,” Hovers said.

BHP’s operated copper assets involved in this transition – Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam – represented 1.5 Mt of copper production in the miner’s 2020 financial year.

BHP engages CRC ORE for Olympic Dam bulk ore sorting study

BHP has engaged the services of Australia-based research consortium, the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), to examine deployment of cutting-edge preconcentration techniques.

Olympic Dam, 560 km north of Adelaide, is one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver, and uranium. This large BHP site is made up of underground and surface operations and conducts fully integrated processing from ore to metal.

The South Australia operation is one of the locations where BHP is actively examining bulk ore sensing and sorting opportunities – techniques within the CRC ORE Grade Engineering® suite of preconcentration technologies.

Grade Engineering is an integrated approach to coarse rejection that matches a suite of separation technologies to ore specific characteristics and compares the net value of rejecting low value components in current feed streams with existing mine plans as part of a system-view.

CRC ORE was requested by BHP to assist in the assessment of bulk ore sorting opportunities at Olympic Dam, it said.

BHP Principal Technology, Lee Bolden, said that as a CRC ORE participant, the diversified miner had watched with interest the sorting and sensing work that CRC ORE is undertaking in open-pit and underground operations.

“It made sense for us to have CRC ORE provide us with valuable insights on this work and input into our bulk ore sorting plans,” Bolden said.

BHP received a high-level bulk ore sorting deployment strategy from CRC ORE for Olympic Dam, along with a framework and calculator for the quantification and ranking of bulk ore sorting strategies at the operation.

CRC ORE also identified the critical work and data required to strengthen the evaluation of bulk ore sorting with the Olympic Dam Project team.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said there were several deployment options among the opportunities assessed.

“We explored sublevel open stoping under the current mining environment, along with block caving as part of future-state mining options,” Dr Keeney said.

As part of the assessment, BHP received a high-level estimate of value from these deployment options.

Dr Keeney said the engagement of CRC ORE at Olympic Dam demonstrated the commitment of big miners to apply innovation to their processes.

“With the need for valuable minerals continuing to grow and mining these minerals becoming ever more difficult, mine operators need to think differently,” Dr Keeney said.

“Bulk ore sorting, and other Grade Engineering opportunities become increasingly competitive and complementary solutions where mined grades decline and mining dilution increases.”

Data science competition unearths potential of South Australia’s Gawler region

Unearthed Solutions says scores of multi-billion-dollar mining projects could be ignited following the results of an international challenge to unlock the potential of South Australia’s resource-rich Gawler region.

ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge, run by the South Australian Government and innovation specialists Unearthed Solutions, had a total prize pool of A$250,000 ($183,249) and attracted broad domestic and international interest.

Using the Geological Survey of South Australia’s (GSSA) historical records, primary data and research, the competition combines geological expertise with new mathematical, machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the number of potential drill targets across central South Australia, Unearthed says.

Buoyed by its success, the South Australia Government has allocated an additional A$5 million from the Economic and Business Growth Fund to the GSSA to flesh out the winning concepts into prospects for exploration companies to make the next big discovery, Unearthed said.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said he was pleased to congratulate the first prize winner, Per-OZ, for its innovative entry which brings together traditional geology, machine learning, advancing modelling, and precision drilling.

“Team Per-OZ, short for Peru/Australia, is a collaborative effort by Dr Paul Pearson from Latin Global and Dr John McLellan from GMEX who both specialise in structural geology, prospectivity analysis, data science, machine learning and modelling,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The judging panel chose the solution presented by Per-OZ as the best overall submission due to their unique methodology which could help geologists in the field find that needle in the haystack. Their unique approach may put us one step closer to uncovering new economic mineral deposits in one of the most significant iron oxide copper-gold regions in the world.”

He added: “By looking at traditional geology with techniques from other disciplines, we can peer into the depths of the earth in a new way, and might just uncover the next Olympic Dam or Carrapateena.”

The Minister for Energy and Mining added that the competition drew around 2,200 data specialists from more than 100 countries to interrogate massive holdings of new and historical data held by the GSSA across the Gawler Craton.

“Globally, it’s becoming harder to find new mineral deposits, and the next generation of discoveries will need to go beyond traditional geology,” he said.

“The analysis of this information treasure trove by data and geoscientists in just five months is an amazing leap forward in the use of artificial intelligence, machine-learning algorithms and alternative mathematical data analysis for the mining sector.

“The GSSA will use this new funding to develop, validate, and deliver publicly available Next Generation Mineral Systems maps for explorers.”

Unearthed Solutions Director, Justin Strharsky (pictured), said “ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge is a clear demonstration of the South Australian industry’s commitment to harnessing the power of data.

“The world is more interconnected than ever, and the Gawler Challenge has shown that the future will be shaped by those who embrace innovation and collaboration. South Australia is set to reap huge economic benefits and is sending a positive, forward-thinking message to students and international investors that this is where the future lays.

“All mineral targets, models and data will be made publicly available to encourage companies to explore for new deposits in the Gawler region, reinforcing South Australia’s reputation as the centre of mining excellence and innovation in Australia,” he said.

The category winners for ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge are:
• Overall Winning Submission Per-OZ (A$100,000 prize);
• Runner Up Caldera Analytics (A$50,000 prize);
• Undercover Award DeMIST (A$15,000 prize);
• Rock Licker Award Jack Maughan (A$15,000 prize);
• Future Data Award Sam Bost (A$15,000 prize);
• Breaking New Ground Award Avant Data Solutions (A$15,000 prize); and
• Student Prize Sparveon (A$20,000 prize)

Unearthed Solutions has compiled all targets generated by the challenge into an interactive map, which can be found on the Unearthed website from 16 September 2020.

Monadelphous expands BHP relationship with iron ore, coal, Olympic Dam work

A month after securing several major contracts with BHP, Monadelphous Group has announced another series of works packages with the major miner that come with a combined value of around A$120 million ($87 million).

Two of the construction and maintenance contracts were awarded under its WAIO Asset Panel Framework Agreement with BHP.

This includes a contract to provide structural, mechanical and electrical upgrades at the Newman Hub site in the Pilbara of Western Australia, where work will commence immediately and is expected to be completed before the end of 2021.

The second agreement is at BHP’s Jimblebar iron ore mine site, in Newman, where the company will be dewatering surplus water from the operation.

In addition, Monadelphous has entered into the Olympic Dam Asset Projects Framework Agreement with BHP to provide multi-disciplinary construction services at the Olympic Dam copper mine, in South Australia (pictured). The first contract secured under this agreement is for the supply and construction of acid storage tanks and connection to the existing operating acid plant.

Finally, the company’s Maintenance and Industrial Services division has been awarded a contract to undertake a major dragline shutdown for BHP Mitsubishi Alliance at its Saraji coal mine, located near Dysart, Queensland. The work will be completed by the end of December 2020.

Last month, Monadelphous’ latest construction and maintenance contract awards from BHP included a contract for the supply and installation of the Jimblebar Transfer Station project, and a contract for the refurbishment of Car Dumper 3 at Nelson Point, Port Hedland.

Adbri wins cement, lime contract extension from BHP for Olympic Dam

Adelaide-based Adbri says it has won a four-year contract extension from BHP to keep supplying cement and lime to its Olympic Dam polymetallic operation in South Australia.

The aggregate value of the contract represents approximately A$160 million ($117 million) in revenue for the group over the full six-year term, it said.

Adbri, which has 160 plants and facilities across Australia, says the extension is in line with the existing contract terms and runs through to mid-2026, marking a 20-year supply relationship with BHP.

Adbri CEO, Nick Miller, said: “We are pleased to extend our long-term relationship with BHP at its Olympic Dam project, which demonstrates the strength of our integrated cement and lime position as well as our high quality and cost competitive product offering.

“We thank BHP for supporting a home-grown manufacturer over an imported product which protects local jobs and benefits the broader South Australian economy.”

Swick signs BHP, MATSA drilling contracts and inks first Orexplore commercial pact

Swick Mining Services Limited has secured new drilling contracts with BHP’s Olympic Dam mine and MATSA’s copper operation in Spain at the same time as confirming the first commercial agreement for its Mineral Technology Business.

In what will be Swick’s second largest project, the company has been awarded a five-year contract to provide underground drilling services at Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.

Swick has been working with up to five rigs at Olympic Dam since 2017 when an initial trial of its underground mobile diamond drills commenced.

The new contract will see Swick increase its rig volume at site, with the first year’s scope requiring an initial eight rigs, with five to be added to the three currently operating at site. Of the five additional rigs, three are at site already and the remainder will be mobilised from Swick’s existing fleet, according to Swick.

Swick has also been awarded a five-year contract from Minas de Aguas Teñidas SAU (MATSA) at its copper operations in Spain, where two rigs are currently deployed.

These projects, combined with Swick’s existing work in hand, has expanded Swick’s order book to A$363 million ($260 million), it said.

Swick’s Mineral Technology Business, Orexplore, has also been awarded its first infield commercial agreement, the company said.

Under the agreement with St Barbara Ltd, some 1,500 m of core will be scanned per month over a six-month period at the Gwalia mine in Leonora, Western Australia.

Swick will conduct technical assessment over a number of potential benefits of the detailed core analysis and high volume of quality data generated by the GeoCore X10 instrument, it said. The agreement has a value of around A$700,000 over the six-month period.

“Orexplore will be working with world-class subject matter experts to ensure maximum value for the client is derived from the data obtained to develop a compelling justification for ongoing services beyond the initial six-month period,” it said.

Swick expects a formal contract to be signed in the coming weeks and mobilisation of GeoCore X10 instruments housed in a custom-built mobile laboratory to site in September 2020.

The GeoCore X10 analyses the element concentrations and minerals contained in a drill core, as well as providing a visualisation of the rock’s internal structure in 3D. This speeds up the chemical laboratory analysis process, enabling miners to accelerate their own decision making.

Swick Managing Director, Kent Swick, said the company was delighted to be awarded a long-term contract with BHP at Olympic Dam.

“Credit goes to our operational team who have delivered outstanding safety performance, and high quality and productive drilling that enabled Swick to secure this long term, high volume work,” he said.

“In addition, securing a five-year agreement with a large copper miner MATSA, in Spain, adds to our ongoing work with Somincor in Portugal along the historic Iberian Pyrite Belt. Our local workforce in that region is highly skilled and they are to be commended for converting a trial into a long-term contract in Spain.”

He concluded: “In the Mineral Technology Business, it is very exciting that we have taken a significant step forward with the award of Orexplore’s first infield commercial agreement. We look forward to ensuring the value is extracted from this rich 3D data set and I am confident we can add significant long-term value to the Gwalia mine and the wider brownfield market.”

NRW Holdings to upgrade Olympic Dam airport

NRW Holdings’ wholly-owned subsidiary, NRW Contracting, has been awarded an airport upgrade contract with BHP at its Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium project, in South Australia.

The scope of works includes two separable portions:

  • Airside works – includes bulk earthworks, pavement construction and drainage works for the construction of a new 1,860 m long runway and refurbishment of the existing taxiway and extension of the apron areas; and
  • Landside works – includes reinforced concrete works, structural steel and modular structures and all services for the upgrade of the existing terminal building and the surrounding infrastructure.

The new contract value is circa-A$48 million ($28 million) and is expected to have a duration of around 37 weeks with works commencing in late March.

The project will have an expected peak workforce of around 140 (including subcontractors), according to the company.

NRW’s CEO and Managing Director, Jules Pemberton, said: “NRW is delighted to be awarded this contract at Olympic Dam following the successful acquisition of the BGC Contracting business.

“NRW has a long history with BHP in their iron ore, coal and nickel divisions but this contract marks the first project for the copper operations. I look forward to the safe and successful execution of the works.”

BHP to rollout light electric vehicle trials to iron ore, nickel in WA

Speaking at the Resources Technology Showcase, in Perth, Western Australia (WA), this week, BHP’s Chief Transformation Officer, Jonathan Price, said from the trial of light electric vehicles at its Olympic Dam mine, in South Australia, had come back with positive results and it would soon expand testing to its iron ore and nickel businesses in WA.

“The Olympic Dam trial is providing us with valuable data and information to understand how we may continue to electrify different forms of transportation, and material movement in our operations,” he told delegates.

“Early results indicate significantly reduced maintenance time, and very positive operator feedback on the vehicle – not only are they smooth to drive, they’re quiet – and with no diesel exhaust and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

BHP worked with Adelaide-based Voltra on the light electric vehicle trial at Olympic Dam, with the technology company developing a 100% electric drive LandCruiser 79 Series (pictured) to be put through its paces in full underground fleet operation.

Still on the theme of decarbonisation, last month, BHP announced four new renewable power agreements at its Escondida and Spence operations, in Chile. The contracts will displace 3 Mt/y of CO2 from 2022, compared with the fossil fuel based contracts they are replacing, according to Price.

He said the company was also “exploring options to do something similar” in Australia.

Price added: “BHP is currently in the market for innovative power solutions for our Eastern Australia Mineral Assets. We have received a positive response from the market, consulting over 40 different parties.”

He said the company expected to make a decision on this in the first half of 2020.

And, on the subject of Integrated Remote Operations Centres (IROC), which BHP has used to expand its use of automation and digitalisation, Price said the company is looking to expand its reach again.

“We launched our very first IROC here in Western Australia back in 2013,” he said. “Three years later we took the lessons learnt from this and built an IROC in Brisbane, overseeing our east coast coal operations.

“Now we have a centre operational in Santiago and have one planned in South Australia,” he said.

BHP’s Jurgens presents big picture automation plan

Diane Jurgens, BHP’s Chief Technology Officer, used her time on stage at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch SmartMine conference, in London, to highlight the company’s plan to introduce full or partial automation across its entire value chain.

The miner has already introduced automation across many of its operations – from haul trucks at Jimblebar (Western Australia) to drill rigs at Western Australia Iron Ore – but Jurgens said the company has bigger automated plans.

This includes considering opportunities to accelerate truck autonomy across the company’s Australia and Minerals Americas sites – the company previously detailed plans to automate around 500 haul trucks across its Western Australia Iron Ore and Queensland Coal sites – and introducing “Decision Automation” to link autonomous processes and data from different sources together to create “near instantaneous, optimised decision making”, Jurgens said.

While she talked up the use of automation in mining – referencing the experience she has in the automotive and aerospace industries – she admitted full automation across the BHP group was unlikely.

“This is because we automate equipment and processes where it provides the highest value,” she said, explaining that investment in technology competes against all of other projects in the BHP portfolio, “and alternative uses of cash, under BHP’s Capital Allocation Framework”.

To test this, the company has built proving grounds at two active mine sites (Eastern Ridge in Australia and Escondida in Chile) to trial new innovations in geology, extraction and processes, and “develop workforce capability so that our people are equipped for the rapid pace of change that lies ahead”, Jurgens said.

Just some of the new innovations Jurgens mentioned included the use of advanced geophysics modelling to reanalyse existing drilling data. This new approach led, in November last year, to the Oak Dam copper discovery, near its existing Olympic Dam operations in South Australia.

Recently, sensors were installed at the Escondida test grounds to prototype the use of real-time data to analyse the quality and grade of ores and inform, for example, whether to divert unprocessed ore for leaching, to concentrators or waste. Jurgens said: “The key to achieving this is using data collected through the sensors and combining it with proprietary algorithms. We then apply our knowledge of the ore body to optimise the processing methods. Once in production, we expect these to improve throughput performance.”

With access to more detailed data on extracted material, machine algorithms can automate decisions to identify and divert waste, which increases plant performance and reduces processing costs, she added.

New patented leaching technologies have, meanwhile, increased metal recoveries by 10-12% and shortened the processing time by 50%, according to Jurgens. “At Spence in Chile we increased copper recoveries by about 10% and helped offset grade decline through implementing the low-cost Spence Recovery Optimisation project,” she said. “The initiative improved heap leach kinetics which meant we could maximise utilisation of the leach pads and therefore use the full 200,000 t of tankhouse capacity.”

This breakthrough also informed the successful heap leach trial at Olympic Dam, which the company has just completed.

The company’s automation and innovation journey has already resulted in significant wins, according to Jurgens.
Equipment automation is creating more efficient, standardised and safer operations, she said:

  • Autonomous blast hole drills across BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore assets have increased drill rates by 25%, and reduced monthly drill maintenance costs by over 40%;
  • Haulage automation at the Jimblebar operation, in the Pilbara, has reduced heavy vehicle safety incidents by 80%;
  • Machine learning is being applied to maintenance on trucks in iron ore and coal – to analyse component failure history;
  • At Yandi, haul truck maintenance analytics increased truck availability to above 90% and generated recurrent cost savings. Replicating these strategies to our trucks in energy coal in the Hunter Valley, BHP has also seen an increase in truck availability;
  • Automating key components of BHP’s rail network is supporting increased capacity, more reliable dispatch and improved maintenance outcomes;
  • In Western Australia, material density scanning and laser precision have delivered an additional 2.4 t of iron ore per car while reducing safety risks of overloading;
  • The automated rail network scheduling system, which controls over 10,000 ore cars and transports about 270 Mt/y of iron ore, is becoming more effective through self-learning algorithms, ensuring trains arrive at port, on-time, and;
  • LiDAR technologies are being used to automate the loading of ships that transport BHP’s product to customers around the world.