BHP delivers first production at high-tech mine

The South Flank site. Image: BHP

BHP has started production at its autonomous-ready South Flank iron ore mine in Western Australia.

During its development, Komatsu provided the site with 41 automation-ready Komatsu 930E-5 ultra-class haul trucks to enhance site safety by keeping workers from the line of fire. The site also features five autonomous drill rigs.

According to BHP, the site will be the most technically advanced iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The company’s remote technology is controlled from its Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) in Perth.

Remote operations reduced work-related hazards and allowed workers to stay off site

BHP president minerals Australia Edgar Basto said the 80-million-tonne-per-annum South Flank mine gives the company control over the largest operating global iron ore hub.

“The project has created more than 9000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and will provide more than 600 operational roles through its life,” he said.

“South Flank’s ore will supply global steel markets for the next 25 years, helping to build electricity, transport and urban infrastructure across the globe. Its high-quality ore will have an important role in helping BHP’s customers lower their greenhouse gas emissions.”

South Flank, along with BHP’s Mining Area C, creates a 145-million-tonne-per-annum iron ore hub.

“First ore from South Flank is the result of the hard work and ingenuity of thousands of people and organisations, spanning state and federal governments, our suppliers, customers, and partners in WA and around the world,” Basto said.

The South Flank mine has created more than 9000 jobs during construction and will provide 600 jobs over its 25-year mine life.

Its workforce is made up of 40 per cent female and 15 per cent Indigenous operational staff.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan welcomed the opening of the mine.

“I congratulate BHP on the first production of ore and look forward to this project continuing to provide jobs for Western Australians and delivering considerable economic benefit for our state,” he said.

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