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Goonyella Riverside mine manager Sean Milfull. Image: BMA

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has supported more than 30 local businesses in central Queensland as it rolls out autonomous haulage at the Goonyella Riverside coal mine.

BMA has spent over $4.2 million to date on the rollout, contracting companies including Mackay-based NB Industries, which completed the fit out of ancillary equipment, and Moranbah-based CPH Mining and Civil, which constructed the calibration pad and access road.

This marks the approximate half-way point for BMA’s $8.2 million planned spending for the project in central Queensland alone.

BMA general manager at Goonyella Riverside, Sean Milfull explained that the support was not limited to expenditure. Many businesses are upskilling their existing staff and employing several others to meet the project demand.

“The rollout of autonomous haulage at Goonyella has been great for businesses in central Queensland,” Milfull said.

“These local businesses have upskilled their staff and in some cases have employed several new staff to support the works being completed at the mine ahead of the first trucks being operational from September.

“Autonomous haulage will help us further improve safety and production on site and we are creating new roles and we are creating new roles and opportunities for the people of central Queensland.”

NB Industries hired three full-time tradesmen in addition to eight existing tradesmen to complete the work. It also appointed additional short-term labour hire employees.

NB Industries business development manager Simon Plant said the business appreciated the opportunity to employ more talented locals and upskill their existing workers.

“The BHP Goonyella Riverside autonomous haulage project has afforded us the opportunity to employ more local talent, upskill and enhance the experience of our existing workforce and foster multiskilled tradespeople,” Plant said.

“Due to the shortage of skilled tradespeople in our sector, we are passionate about investing in training and mentoring to grow the resourcefulness and relevance of our team and community into the future.”

CPH Mining and Civil also expressed its gratitude for having the opportunity to work on the project.

“It has been fantastic supporting Goonyella as the mine prepares for autonomous trucks,” CPH Mining and Civil owner Colin Ritson said.

“This project has been a great opportunity for the business and for our people.”