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Technology enables flexible work on the frontline

Technology is enabling our people in critical roles at our mine sites to work remotely as we continue to adapt to new ways of working in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Some of the teams on our mine sites require specialised equipment and computer programs to carry out their work but they are often too large and complex to work on conventional laptops, which is what previously made remote working so difficult.

In March, the Resource Engineering team launched the Technical Computing Environment (TCE) project to make some of these programs available off site. The TCE hosts these essential programs in an online data centre that the teams can access remotely, and it’s been a game changer for the mine scheduling teams across our Queensland Coal business.

Our mine schedulers are responsible for designing our pits and creating weekly mining schedules that tell the operational teams where to dig. In short, they perform a critical role that keeps our people safe and our operations productive.

Hayden Bachmann, the Scheduling Manager at BMA’s Blackwater coal mine in Queensland, says the transition from site to remote working has been seamless.

“We have access to the TCE from home which gives us access to the programs we need to do our jobs,” he said.  

“The team has set up their home offices which include large monitors and ergonomic work stations as most of the design work they do requires a large monitor to fit the design work on.

“Absolutely no one works from the kitchen table.”

Jonathan Regan, the Mine Scheduling Manager at BMA’s Caval Ridge coal mine, manages a team of around 20 engineers and has been impressed with how they’ve taken to remote working.

“We’re still in regular contact with the execution teams on the ground”, he said.

“The move to working from home hasn’t impacted the performance of the team at all. I think they've taken it as an opportunity to show that there's a way of being flexible on the frontline.

“Remotely staying in contact and performing our regular roles has done a lot for the mental health of our team.

“This use of technology means we’re still able to do our jobs effectively and safety, but it’s also exposed us to the benefits that come with flexible working that have traditionally only being available to office workers, like spending more time with our families.”

Find out more from Acting Chief Technology Officer Rag Udd about how else we’re utilising technology to change the way we work in the latest edition of Prospects.