BHP unveil coal remote operations centre

BHP unveil coal remote operations centre

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) has launched an integrated remote operations centre (IROC) in Brisbane for its coal business, aiming to replace the success it had with its IROC in Perth, which now controls operations across the Pilbara.

The Perth centre covers more than 1,500 kilometres of rail, stockyards and two separate port facilities.

BHP is working with joint venture partners Mitsubishi and Mitsui and plans to provide real time coverage of its seven BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) mines in the Bowen Basin, the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay and the Mt. Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

The IROC will be a new, state-of-the-art facility positioned in Brisbane that will deliver an advanced control room which will run continually, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This is a very important step on our innovation and productivity journey across our coal assets and will mean we can more effectively replicate our best practices at each and every site,” BMA said in an official statement.

“The IROC will ensure we can optimise our production supply chain at every point in the cycle and deliver substantial, sustainable savings for our business, providing us with a significant competitive edge.”

The remote control operations, when fully operational, will employ about 200 workers across a range of different roles, most of whom will be taken directly from existing operations.

The new centre will affect workers on site. “We understand that this type of innovative change to the way we operate can also bring uncertainty and displacement for some people, and we will be working closely with our employees to communicate regularly with them through this process,” stated the company.