A new era of digitisation for coal mining industry
A MINING giant is propelling Central Queensland's resources sector towards a new era of digitisation.
Anglo American has launched Australia's first electronic tablet device certified for use in underground coal mines at Moranbah North.
It comes after BHP also this week announced plans to use drones and other technology to make its mines safer in the wake of six month deaths in 12 months.
Mine worker Bradley Hardwick died at Anglo American's Moranbah North in February.
"Our innovative new tablets are already enabling improved communication and information sharing underground, which will ultimately lead to safer, more productive mining," Tyler Mitchelson said.
The Anglo American's Australian business chief executive officer classed digitisation as a key part of the company's FutureSmart Mining approach, which applied innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining's major challenges.
"Following the successful launch at Moranbah North Mine we are now moving towards rapid deployment across all our underground sites including our newly-approved Aquila Mine, which will be developed as one of the most technologically advanced underground mines in the world," Mr Mitchelson said.
"The tablets capture and share real-time production, safety and environmental monitoring information with operators, ensuring critical information is readily available to key personnel and removing the need for paper records.
"They also provide direct access to our safety health management system and can be used as a portable video communication device (via Skype) to instantly access personnel working at the surface level.
"Any delays or challenges can be reported and addressed on-the-spot to reduce lost production time, instead of relying on traditional communication methods such as phone calls, underground travel or hard copy reports being submitted and reviewed at the end of a 12-hour shift."
Mr Mitchelson said the introduction of underground tablets followed significant work towards automating longwall operations and digitising the company's mines.
Executive Head of Underground Operations in Australia, Glen Britton, said implementation of the tablets followed a successful pilot earlier this year at Moranbah North Mine and was already receiving positive feedback from operators.
"Early feedback from operators has been encouraging, as they have found the tablets easy to use and can already see improvements to productivity and safety," he said.
"Each week at Moranbah North Mine, around 400 statutory reports and 2500 maintenance work orders are generated.
"The team there aims to be paperless within two years, and the introduction of these tablets will enable us to remove underground paperwork and transition to electronic storage of statutory and production reports."
"Over the past five years, we have invested considerable resources in the development of this technology, to ensure the product was fit-for-purpose."