Australia’s mining industry relies on technological innovation to drive improved productivity, according to Australian Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson.
Speaking at the recent opening of a global mining research and development center in Perth, Western Australia, Ferguson said research conducted at the center would effectively contribute to the global competitiveness of the Australian mining industry, helping to maximize returns to the community and shareholders. It’s a theme that readers will encounter repeatedly in the following section: a summary of recent Australia-based mining technology and product introductions, compiled by the staff of E&MJ’s sister publication, The Asia Miner, Mining Media’s bimonthly journal covering mining-related news and events in the Asia Pacific region. The Asia Miner is based in Melbourne, Victoria, and enjoys wide distribution within the Australian mining sector.
The research center that served as the sounding board for Ferguson’s comments is affiliated with BASF, a leading global chemical company. The new facility will allow BASF’s scientists to study specific innovation needs for mineral processing and metal production to help reduce energy consumption and reuse water at mines in Australia and around the world.
BASF SE Vice Chairman Dr. Martin Brudermueller, whose management responsibilities include the Asia Pacific region, said at the opening: “Chemistry is a key enabler to making tomorrow’s mining industry more sustainable. With the latest advances in mining solutions research, BASF aims to help mining operations to minimize water consumption, maximize recovery, reduce land areas consumed by tailings disposal and minimize the cost and time required to rehabilitate sites.”
With a team that will comprise six advanced material researchers at the BASF center by the end of 2012 and about 20 researchers over the next five years, focus topics will include advanced rheology modifiers for the improvement of the thickening process for valuables and tailings, as well as modification of the crystallization process in alumina production.
“High quality ores are becoming depleted and new mines are often in hostile locations while environmental, health and safety regulations are becoming more stringent. BASF aims to help the industry face these challenges with solutions across our customers’ value chain. This new research and development center will further develop our expertise in areas, that are crucial to meeting future needs,” said Dr. Steffen Kudis, head of BASF’s Global Oilfield and Mining Solutions businesses.
The following pages of highlighted technological developments within the Australian mining sector are roughly categorized by their association with the extraction, processing, information technology and safety/training sectors of the industry.
Haulage Partnership with Canadian Diamond Mine
A number of extended-distance mine haul trucks with purpose-built dump bodies are heading from Australia to the Ekati diamond mine in northern Canada during the second half of 2012. As reported in Austmine’s Export News, one Haulmax 3900-D with special lightweight body developed by Duratray is the first of the Tasmanian-built trucks to be supplied to Ekati, with more to come.
“[The 3900-D] is the first of a fleet of units to be used on their Misery satellite mine project,” said Bob Calvert, Haulmax global marketing manager and Austmine board member. The 80-ton-payload truck will haul material more than 35 km to a stockpile in testing conditions. He said winter temperatures could drop to -60°C. Three more units are expected to be delivered later this year in time to use the 2013 ice road to the mine.
“The Duratray is a common sight at that operation,” Calvert said. “Haulmax worked with Duratray Australia to develop a body specifically for the Haulmax unit design. The body was built in Melbourne, fitted to the 3900 and shipped direct to Canada as a complete unit. It was selected in this instance to ensure the flexible body liner will maintain material fluidity over the longer haulage distance and time, reducing the risk of it freezing.”
A Duratray Australia spokesperson said there were more than 30 different trucks at Ekati with Duratray Suspended Dump Bodies (SBDs). “The body has all the trademarks of the Suspended Dump Body, with rubber floor, rubber front wall and all the key benefits needed for icy conditions such as no carry back, impact and vibration reduction due to the suspended effect, and reduced maintenance.”
“The client specifically requested a [Duratray] body. The request was purely based on Ekati’s experience with the SDB bodies, it just happened to be that the new design was a long haul which was a new challenge for us,” the spokesperson said.
Komatsu Enhances Dozer Ride-comfort Levels
Construction and mining equipment manufacturer Komatsu Australia has increased the ride comfort levels of its mining dozers. Komatsu’s Mining Product Manager David Laidlaw said several major modifications have been made to the cab mountings to reduce shock loads and the undercarriage’s bogie and equalizer oscillation angles.
“Following trials in Hunter Valley and central Queensland coal mines, we can confirm that the ride, vibration levels and operator comfort on Komatsu mining dozers are as good as or better than any other machine. We carried out a rigorous independent testing program, comparing a D475A-5EO with the ride enhancement package fitted, a machine without the package and a competitive machine. The results show that we have achieved our ride and operator comfort objectives.”
Further testing is continuing into additional ways to improve the ride and comfort levels for the dozers. Komatsu has also developed a factory-fitted Australian mining specification package which allows dozers to be delivered ‘mine ready’ direct from the factory to the mine site. The package includes features such as right and left-hand access platforms with handrails and access lights, starter isolator box, manual engine stop switch and engine bay maintenance light. This option will save companies considerable time and expense when preparing and delivering dozers to mine operations.
“It ensures that mine specification requirements for our dozers are manufactured and installed to Komatsu’s exacting production standards prior to being shipped to Australia, and that they comply to ISO engineering standards,” Laidlaw said.
ReCoila Tackles Underground Blasting Challenge
An Australian-made lightweight hose reel has been instrumental in solving a challenge to plug a breakthrough hole in an underground blasting operation. Mining consumables company MTI Group approached ReCoila to supply a hose reel that would be durable and easily transportable in order to position a plugging device in holes up to 90 m deep.
MTI wanted to load the holes with explosives for further blasting but needed the breakthrough hole—a downhole drilled between levels which breaks through to an open tunnel with limited access—plugged first. Making the entire process even more challenging was the extremely harsh working environment to which the solution was being exposed. ReCoila supplied a medium duty steel hand crank reel suited to long hose lengths, to which MTI added additional controls to remotely manipulate inflatable devices at the end of the hose.
Other brands of hose had already failed to withstand the rugged conditions of the task, but MTI said the ReCoila hose reel was ideal. “MTI has told us the orientation of the inlet worked well with the control box that was necessary for its specific applications. The control box housed a pneumatic circuit, giving the ability to inflate and evacuate plugs from above ground,” said ReCoila Managing Director Michael Pawson.
MTI has reported excellent results overall and has indicated to ReCoila there will be future opportunities to design and supply custom-made hose reels for use in its other projects. ReCoila notes its added advantage is that it is a local Australian company that manufactures similar technology of this nature in-house to end-user specifications.
MTI Group specializes in products used for blasting, specifically to suspend, confine and locate explosive charges using inflatables. It operates throughout Australia and abroad with about 30 hose reels in operation in underground mines in Australia and the United States.
Australian-made Tunneling Lasers
Australia has a home-grown solution for accurate tunneling lasers, made by MCE Lasers, which said its tunneling laser range delivers accurate construction and alignment of tunnels driven by tunnel boring machines, drill and blast, pipe jack or conventional hand techniques. MCE Lasers is a 30-year-old Australian company that specializes in the manufacture and design of lasers for alignment and leveling. According to MCE, the full range of lasers is rugged, made from materials such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum and brass. The lasers incorporate diode technology and can be powered by a variety of battery supplies, from D cells to LR44 batteries, suited to the customer’s operating time and physical size requirements. The range offers a unique array of features such as user-defined, focusable green or red beam for extra long range; single and dual beam lasers; line generator optics; beam splitter optics; and intrinsically safe lasers for use in explosive areas. MCE Lasers said it has also developed an extensive range of laser levels, receivers and measuring units for the global market.
World’s Largest Mill Shells
Hofmann Engineering, which has participated in expansions of capability at plants in Western Australia and Victoria by supplying large-diameter grinding mill heads and shells, reported that June 2012 saw the dispatch of the first stainless steel-lined mill shell and heads for one of three 9.15 x 14.2-m autogenous grinding mills at Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama gold-silver project on the border between Chile and Argentina.
The mill shell is manufactured in three cylindrical cans, each split longitudinally into semicircles for transport. The weight of each autogenous mill being manufactured by Hofmann at its Bassendean plant in Perth is 516 tons, consisting of 10 pieces.
Two additional mills will be delivered over the coming six months. Three even larger mill shells are now on order for client FLSmidth Minerals, to be installed at iron ore and copper projects in South America. When completed these will be some of the largest grinding mills in service.
The company also notes its Hofalloy-forged steel girth gears for grinding mills, kilns and calciners have achieved major milestones in new orders. What is believed to be the largest forged steel gear in the world will be delivered to Metso Minerals for a new project in north Asia. This 13.2-m-diameter gear, weighing more than 80 tons, will be driven by two 8,500-kW case-carburized pinions that are also being supplied by Hofmann Engineering as part of the drivetrain for a new 36-ft-diameter SAG mill. Meanwhile, an even higher-powered single-pinion drive of 9,000 kW has been designed by the Hofmann Mill Gearing team to be supplied to FLSmidth for a large ball mill drive at a new gold project in northern Canada.
Non-Toxic Gold Recovery Alternative to Cyanide
CSIRO is developing a gold recovery process to treat high-grade gold concentrates onsite at mines, which it claims will eliminate the use of the toxic chemical cyanide and reduce the risk of theft. The process, thiosulfate, is what CSIRO is investigating as an non-toxic alternative to cyanide for recovering gold from ores and concentrates.
CSIRO Research Leader Dr. Paul Breuer said industry wants to move away from cyanide because of the perceived environmental risk and because it is already banned in some areas where gold mining takes place.
“Companies are reluctant to ship the gold concentrate offsite for further cyanide processing because even though the gold content is not high, it is of considerable value and there is a risk of theft during transportation.
“By recovering the gold from these concentrates onsite, the industry can get an increased return on their mining. This is where thiosulfate comes in. Gold can be dissolved using thiosulfate and then recovered from solution onsite to produce gold doré, which can then be easily transported using armored guards to minimize the risk of theft.”
CSIRO has worked with industry to develop this environmentally sustainable process in the laboratory and piloting is planned for later this year.
“CSIRO is also developing a thiosulfate-based process for the recovery of gold from pyritic ores and for the in-situ or in-place leaching of gold from ores,” Breuer said. “The in-situ or in-place leaching offers significant reduction in the environmental impacts of mining as the surface is not disturbed, other than for a series of injection and extraction wells.”
PNG Laterite Ore to Undergo Innovative Process Testing
After joint venture partners Regency Mines and Direct Nickel (DNi) established a maiden resource at the Mambare nickel project in Papua New Guinea, their next important step is to pilot a 150-ton sample of ore at DNi’s test plant in Perth using its patented, pioneering nickel laterite processing technology. DNi said the testing will produce comprehensive engineering data for use in pre-feasibility studies.
The Direct Nickel Process is a hydrometallurgical process for laterite deposits. It is believed to be the only process capable of treating the full laterite profile, from limonitic to saprolitic ores, in a single flowsheet. It is a tank-leach process that operates at atmospheric pressure, or with the option of mild pressure, and treats the ore at relatively low temperatures.
The leach process uses a special reagent package to liberate in two to four hours more than 95% of the nickel, cobalt and other metals into solution. The insoluble residue is neutralized and sent to a waste disposal facility. The solution is then sequentially processed to extract the individual metals.
So far, DNi has spent A$25 million on developing, testing and patenting its process. A demonstration plant has been built in Perth and the company has farmed into joint ventures in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Australia’s CSIRO is also involved in development of the technology.
The maiden JORC-compliant resource for Mambare stands at 95 million mt at 0.96% nickel and 0.08% cobalt, using a 0.6% nickel cut-off, for almost 1 million mt of contained nickel.
A 2009 external study by Aker Solutions showed the Direct Nickel Process is economic using a slightly higher head grade than the maiden resource. With discovery of a higher-grade saprolite layer and further drilling of the plateau, the target is to identify a large resource or equal or better grade than the maiden estimate.
Proto Develops Nickel Laterite Technology
Proto Resources, through its majority-owned subsidiary Barrier Bay, said it also is developing technology that could unlock the real value of laterite nickel deposits and provide the nickel industry with a definite path to a strong and profitable future. To process nickel laterite economically, the Barrier Bay process utilizes low capex and opex technology based on the use of electricity to process waste byproducts into reusable acid and saleable metal products.
Laterite ore bodies contain high levels of other elements such as cobalt, iron and magnesium that call for different processing methods, with the most common forms currently used being high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) and heap leaching. Under these methods ore is processed in a sulphuric acid leach to extract the metal. The nickel/cobalt solution is then separated and purified by solvent extraction and electrowinning.
This requires large capex for an acid plant, plus pressure and heat apparatus for HPAL and opex for acid, acid transport and byproduct storage. It also leaves a large environmental footprint as byproducts including sulphuric acid, and iron and magnesium salts must be neutralized and stored in a tailings dam.
Proto’s processing technology involves leaching the ore at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, and then transferring the pregnant leach solution, or PLS, into an electrochemical cell divided by a membrane. When electricity is passed through the cell, iron oxide and magnesium hydroxide come out of solution (attaching to the cathode) and the sulphuric acid in solution regenerates in one half of the cell with water collecting in the other. The nickel and cobalt are extracted using ion exchange (IX) resin and then electrowon, producing nickel metal.
According to the company, when compared to the HPAL method of processing laterite ore the Barrier Bay process stacks up well. Sulphuric acid can represent up to 70% of operating costs on HPAL projects. By recycling up to 90% of the acid, the Barrier Bay process could provide large cost savings from recycling such vast quantities of acid and water in the process in addition to being able to extract saleable iron and magnesium products and drastically reduce the size of tailings storage facilities. The process is believed to work on any project that uses sulphuric acid as a reagent.
Development of the process began in 2007 at an independent laboratory in northern New South Wales. Proto has funded the construction of a pilot plant to test the process on a larger scale and this piloting is in the final stages. The data gained from the pilot continues to inform Proto and its joint venture partner on their Barnes Hill nickel-cobalt deposit in Tasmania.
Transmin’s Rocklogic Wins Innovation Award
Materials handling company Transmin topped competition within the innovation category in the 21st Annual Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards. Transmin’s Rocklogic, a rockbreaker automation system, was one of 27 finalists for the awards, which recognize companies and individuals at the cutting edge of technology innovation.
Rocklogic claims to be the only automated system applied to hydraulic boom and hammer assemblies used to reduce the size of material in crushing operations at hard-rock mine sites. The Australian-engineered technology provides integrated remote operation, collision avoidance and automated parking technology for rockbreakers. Transmin said the system improves mine site safety by eliminating hazards to site personnel.
Transmin Senior Engineer Dr. Adrian Boeing presented the Rocklogic system at the Collision Avoidance in Mining Conference in Brisbane, earlier this year. “Remote operation protects the operator’s health by removing them from exposure to dangerous mining conditions, allowing them to operate the equipment from a safe office environment,” he said. “This can either be on site or at a city-based control room where operators can control several rockbreakers at different sites around the state.
“Our collision avoidance technology significantly increases safety and eliminates downtime and maintenance costs from collisions. Operators also feel more confident knowing a collision system is protecting them, and this improves their operating speed and efficiency. The system can also be integrated with industry standard fleet management systems to avoid collisions with vehicles. Rocklogic’s fault tolerant dedicated emergency shutdown system is customized to each site’s needs and ensures the health and safety of all surrounding personnel,” Boeing said.
Each rockbreaker carries sensors, specifically fitted to calculate its position relative to surrounding plant. This information is used to compute the nearest obstacles to the rockbreaker and preemptively reduce its speed to avoid collisions. In addition, Rocklogic can generate movement plans for the rockbreaker that it can automatically follow, allowing the operator to park the rockbreaker with the touch of a button.
“Our system is unique because of its 3-D data. We use CAD data or a laser scan of the mine site to produce a virtual layout of the rockbreaker’s surrounds,” said Daniel Adams, Rocklogic’s lead technical engineer. “With that information and the sensors fitted, we determine where the Rockbreaker is within the scene to prevent it from colliding with nearby objects or structures.”
Mining ERP on Your Smartphone
MinePoint ERP software, developed in Australia on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, delivers on the promise of mobile business information. “MinePoint is fully-featured ERP, but that isn’t what you need when you’re stuck in an airport lounge. What you really need is to carry on with business as usual and know that essential data and information isn’t trapped back at the office—it’s there with you, available on your phone,” said Bill Jarman, business manager at Eclipse Computing, developers of MinePoint.
MinePoint was developed by Eclipse to address the challenges faced by Australian mining companies with operations in fast-growing mining regions such as Mongolia, Africa and South America. Workflows initiated in the MinePoint ERP, such as purchase orders, payment approvals and maintenance work orders, are made available for immediate action via smart devices without the need for a dedicated Internet connection. This means operational workflow isn’t compromised when an approving manager is traveling or is off-site.
MinePoint’s ERP functionality supports the full mining lifecycle from exploration to production and can be deployed internationally with a range of options depending on the site and communications infrastructure available. This flexibility is underpinned by comprehensive international compliance matched by multi-currency, multi-lingual and international support for more than 30 countries as well as local tax, regulatory and market requirements.
“MinePoint has the familiar look and feel of all Microsoft products. That means it’s easy to get up and running in countries where English is a second language. The simple user interface and direct integration with Word, Excel and Outlook means less training and less stress on the ground,” said Jarman.
Pitram Optimum Operates in Ghana
MICROMINE has successfully implemented its mine control and management reporting solution, Pitram Optimum, at Gold Fields’ Damang gold mine in Ghana. MICROMINE said Pitram will help the operation to increase production, reduce costs, and improve safety and business intelligence capabilities.
Damang is an open-pit gold mine in southwest Ghana, at which Gold Fields annually processes 5.1 million metric tons annually from a blend of approximately 37% oxide ore and 63% fresh ore. The current planned depth of the Damang pit is 300 m and it is estimated that the current mineral reserve will be depleted by 2019, although exploration work indicates that the life of mine could be extended if additional projects are approved.
Gold Fields’ FMS and projects supervisor Barrett Blaauw said Pitram was selected “because of its ability to integrate the production planning and optimization process into the real-time environment. The software went ‘live’ in February 2012. This is the first time Gold Fields has worked with MICROMINE, which provides us with good after-sales services and technical support.
“The biggest hurdle for us has been convincing operators in the field to utilize the new software to their advantage. Fortunately, an increasing number of miners in Africa are experiencing the benefits that automation solutions such as Pitram provide.
“Both our Ghanaian mines have ambitious expansion plans that could extend their lives. A strong fleet is essential to our current and future operations. Damang has 22 automated vehicles and using Pitram Optimum, we plan to automate a further 12 vehicles within the next few months.”
Pitram Optimum is one of four solutions that comprise the Pitram product suite, which provides an upgrade path from the entry-level Pitram Report solution, through to the fully automated Pitram Optimum Solution.
MICROMINE’s South Africa General Manager Marc Ramsey said, “Because Pitram Optimum integrates production planning and optimization, Damang will see a significant improvement in the execution of mine plans and the maximization of asset utilization and efficiency. Damang management will be able to compare actual findings against plans, and have the ability to correct deviations from plans.
“Also, through intuitive equipment allocation, Damang can optimize production, reduce wait time and execute shift plans according to design or blending requirements. This will allow business targets to be achieved at the lowest possible cost,” Ramsey noted.
Mining Information Portal Sees Enhancements
Mining Information Systems (MIS) has added new tools to its MISWeb Control Platform that enhance usability and efficiency: the OLAP cube viewer (Scout) and a dashboard reporting tool (Focus) that both provide clear, crisp graphics and data visualizations together with strong analytic capabilities.
The MISWeb Control Platform is a highly scalable, enterprise-wide data and application end user portal. This portal also provides a data analytics suite of web applications that is claimed to provide sophistication with simplicity in a synergistic Web-based interface for navigating MIS applications or consuming Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cubes.
The MIS team has implemented data management and reporting systems specific to the mining industry at a large number of surface and underground mines around the globe. There are more than 40 installations of the MIS product range in Africa, Australia, North and South America, and Canada. The systems, or modules therein, have been used as a primary data reporting and management tool in the mining of a number of commodities, including coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, mineral sands, nickel, tantalum, uranium and vanadium.
According to the company, the Mine Management Reporting System (MMRS) has at its core a global database model that is not constrained by language, time zones, unit of measure, currency, organizational structure or commodity mined. The system has been designed and developed to be implemented in a modular fashion, facilitating a staged deployment strategy that simplifies on-site user training and acceptance.
MMRS modules correspond to all the functional areas of a mining operation including load and haul, drill and blast, product and stockpile tracking, fuel system management, fixed plant and crushing, geology, grade control and performance to physical or financial plans, forecasts and budgets. The systems contain full featured data analysis Cube creation and built in analysis and dashboarding tools using familiar drag-and-drop technologies.
SAFETY AND TRAINING
Bis Industries Drivers Roll Safely with Optalert
Bis Industries said it has taken a high-tech approach to fatigue management on its Boddington to Bunbury copper concentrate haulage project in Western Australia.
Sharing roads with a myriad of local drivers, vacationers, tourists and farmers, this route demanded driver risk mitigation that Bis Industries effected through the use of innovative fatigue monitoring technology, Optalert. As described in a recent issue of E&MJ (See “Homing In on the Human Factor in Haulage Risk Reduction,” p. 84, June 2012), the Optalert system employs a unique set of driving eyewear. The glasses—connected to a small computer processor in the vehicle—emit and detect low levels of infrared light to sense movements in the eyes and eyelids. Data regarding these movements are fed into the computer, which calculates a driver’s level of drowsiness.
Optalert was installed on six prime movers and one light vehicle. Bis Industries Divisional Risk and OHSE manager Toro Havini said, “almost 95% of the time our road trains are sharing the road with the public, [and] often these passenger vehicles are holiday makers who may have never seen a road train before and at times they don’t understand the stopping distances and crash avoidance spaces required when interacting with that type of heavy vehicle. We wanted Optalert on this operation as we understand that fatigue is a critical risk in our business and we want to do everything to ensure that we not only meet our legislative responsibilities but exceed them.
“We want to use technology that is at the cutting edge of fatigue management,” he said. “Our drivers often report back near-misses where passenger vehicles do dangerous things in an effort to overtake a road train or pull out in front of them, not understanding that such a heavy vehicle needs more stopping and crash avoidance space. That’s why it is so critical that our drivers are 100% alert and totally vigilant to the actions of those around them.”
The Optalert system has been in full use since early May, with very positive driver feedback following an extensive debrief and training program run by senior Bis Industries management. Havini said, “[Fatigue management] is a very human issue and while experience helps keep it in control, it only takes one ‘micro sleep’ to cause a tragedy, especially at the wheel of a road train.
“The key to the success of this roll out has been the support of Optalert and the lengthy debrief session they had with drivers to iron out any concerns or issues. Bis Industries has had a longstanding relationship with Optalert and we have had times when the system was used successfully and also times when it was not so successful. Any time you are an early adopter of high technology, you will encounter teething issues, but we have worked closely with Optalert over the years to iron out those issues and as a result our feedback has gone into making the system more rugged and suitable for mining and outback road conditions. The result is a product that we have a lot of faith in.”
Training Facility for Tire Fitters
Otraco International has opened a custom-designed, off-road tire-fitting training center in Perth, from which it aims to train hundreds of graduates in certified automotive-mechanical heavy tire fitting. Otraco said the new facility will train tire fitters in the company’s operations at sites across Australia, and help address the shortage of qualified off-road tire fitters.
The center comprises a large tire pad, training rooms, offices, workshop and hardstand. Otraco said it offers a simulated mine environment with trainees able to work on real mining equipment.
“One of the most important advantages of this approach is that it enables trainees to undergo training in a very safe, controlled environment. It also enables them to decide whether they like the life, as trainees will be required to work a full mine roster, work nights, undergo mock client audits and even eat in a crib room,” said Otraco general manager Alistair Swanson.
Trainees will attend the center for the first six weeks of the certificate and then continue their training at mine sites. Mining companies and local businesses have equipped the center with both open-pit and underground mining machinery, including a Caterpillar 789B haul truck from BHP Billiton and an Elphinstone R2900 bogger and tire handler from Downer Mining.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Head of Community and Indigenous Affairs Richard O’Connell, said his company supports the center as it provides a real-life practical training experience. “We understand the importance of skill development to meet the needs of our growing Western Australian community. Equally, we are committed to reinforcing a culture of safety and best practice.”
The center will initially take groups of six to eight students to meet the needs of Otraco’s operation, while commercial courses to mining equipment companies will be offered at a later date.
Otraco is owned by diversified mine contractor Downer EDI Mining. The company’s tire-management software system, OTRA-COM, provides tire-management expertise with the latest advances in online web technology. This combination enables clients to access real-time data via the Internet.
Otraco’s subsidiary Rimtec is a global distributor of tire accessories, sealants and lubricants as well as earthmover wheels and rims. This offers clients complementary services and ensures ongoing in-house support for Otraco’s core tire-management business.
Komatsu Invests in Employee Talent Development
The first class of students has begun a two-year course under Komatsu Australia’s graduate development program (GDP). The training program is part of the company’s strategy to further progress its talent development goal to ensure there is a steady supply of specialist and management expertise in the sector.
Komatsu’s Managing Director Sean Taylor, said the company has made considerable investments in training and human resources development in recent years. “The GDP builds on such programs as our award-winning apprentice development system for plant and heavy machinery apprentices, as well as our certified technic accreditation system which recognizes technical skills and competency excellence.”
The new course is focused on building organizational capability in critical business areas and has recruited a number of recent graduates from various disciplines including three engineering graduates and one each from IT, finance/accounting and business/commerce.
“The program aims to give the graduates an opportunity to develop skills and experience in a range of business areas to prepare them for a career within Komatsu,” said Taylor.
Each graduate will spend time in various Komatsu departments at different locations on rotational assignments, from which they will then provide a 30-minute presentation to management. Taylor said this is a major initiative for the company to build its organizational capability and maximize its long-term business sustainability. Graduates who successfully complete the program will be offered ongoing employment with Komatsu.
This strategy will produce future leaders for the company, said Komatsu’s Business Skills Development Manager Jason Alfeo. “Our executive team and divisional managers are the sponsors of the program; we intend to provide a unique and exclusive Komatsu learning experience for the graduates that will expand the pool of future leaders available to the business.”
A feature of the program is its goal of developing ‘the whole person.’ Komatsu’s National Organizational Development Manager Paul Richardson said, “We concentrate not only on further developing their technical skills relative to their chosen discipline, but also their practical life and business skills.”
The skills development areas include project management, career planning, public speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution, problem solving, OH&S, customer service and emotional intelligence—all aimed at increasing the students’ corporate success.
The first class of six students was selected from 550 applicants.