BHP vice-president of technology global transformation Rag Udd. Picture: AAP/David Clark
BHP vice-president of technology global transformation Rag Udd. Picture: AAP/David Clark

BHP pushes robotic future in Qld

MINING giant BHP is moving to help establish a robotics centre in Queensland as automation takes an increasingly frontline position in resources and other sectors.

BHP vice-president of technology global transformation Rag Udd told the QODE conference in Brisbane yesterday that the company's Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) opened two years ago was using robotics and automation to make mining safer and increase jobs.

"The IROC team manages our entire coal supply chain from pit to port," said Mr Udd. "Equally importantly it has created an extensive suite of training and upskilling opportunities for our people, many of whom are long-term miners." Mr Udd said that while there was a push for robotic capacity across many sectors beyond mining, Australia still trailed other leading industrial powers in the adoption of autonomy.

"We have approximately 0.6 robots per thousand employees compared to the OECD average of 1.61," he said.

"If we can increase that adoption, we have a real opportunity to develop best-in-class industrial robotics. These capabilities, like the commodities they help extract, can be exported throughout the world." He said BHP was now working to establish an industry-led Australian robotics cluster in Queensland. "This is a partnership approach with government, educators and other sector leaders to future proof not only our industry but our state as a whole," Mr Udd said. He said that by 2030 half of the workforce would need advanced coding and software design skills.