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Technology function to better support operations

BHP will realign its global Technology function to better support its operational assets, as part of accelerated efforts to make its functions more efficient and effective.

Acting Chief Technology Officer Rag Udd said: “We will take an asset-centric focus across Technology, to deliver value directly to the business more quickly and support our front-line operations to be safer, lower cost and more reliable.”

“We will more closely align with BHP’s asset-based structure across our three main operating regions – Minerals Australia, Minerals Americas and Petroleum.”

A multi-year program to improve BHP’s functions is well underway, with some elements being brought forward for delivery two years earlier than previously planned. This, combined with the refreshed Technology function, is expected to reduce overheads by over half a billion dollars by 2021 relative to the 2019 financial year.

“Technology will accelerate our performance agenda at BHP,” Mr Udd said.

“We will build our capability to apply technology at scale, with greater speed and lower costs. We will streamline our processes, work more with external providers of infrastructure, systems and services, and focus on projects and opportunities that will generate higher returns, sooner.”

Implementation will begin immediately and be completed by the end of 2020 (calendar year).

Autonomous trucks at Newman East

Separately, BHP has announced that it will introduce 20 autonomous trucks at its Newman East (Eastern Ridge) mine in Western Australia by the end of this year.

Marie Bourgoin, General Manager Newman Operations, said the decision would create more than 30 new jobs and generate more than $33 million in contracts for Western Australian businesses.

“Newman East is home to our Innovation Centre, so we’re already using technology there that helps us to be safer and more efficient; autonomous trucks were the logical next step,” Ms Bourgoin said.

The first autonomous trucks will begin operating at Newman East from June this year.

BHP has operated a fully-autonomous truck fleet at its Western Australian Jimblebar mine since 2017. In late 2019, BHP announced it would implement an autonomous fleet at its Goonyella Riverside coal mine in Queensland.