BMA will introduce 34 autonomous haulers at Daunia over the next 18 months. (Photo: BMA)

The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) recently announced it would introduce 34 autonomous trucks at the Daunia coal mine in Queensland, Australia, a $100 million investment. This is a multigenerational investment in the industry and state at a time when it is needed, explained BMA Asset President James Palmer.

“This announcement is a vote of confidence in Central Queensland,” he said. “At least 10 regional and indigenous businesses will be employed to support the rollout, with contracts worth $35 million. This will result in 150 additional project roles for BMA people and contractors. This is on top of 56 new permanent roles on site.”

Hastings Deering’s Central Queensland operations will see an additional 30 jobs required to assist with truck and ancillary fleet conversion. “This contract is a huge boost to our local business and the region,” Hastings Deering CEO Dean Mehmet said. “We will need 30 additional people to support the work that is required to convert the trucks and ancillary mining fleet.”

“We have engaged with our workforce at Daunia over the previous 18 months on the possible rollout of autonomous haulage,” Palmer said. “Our people have told us that they are eager for new job opportunities and skills. That is why we are confident this is the right decision for Daunia. It will further increase safety and performance and help the mine remain competitive over the long-term.”

To help prepare for Daunia’s autonomous future, it is estimated more than  30,000 hours of training will be delivered, from general awareness to extensive training for those operating equipment, interacting with the autonomous haul trucks, or taking on new roles. The first autonomous trucks will begin from February 2021, with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of 2021.