According to The Australian Financial Review, late last month, BHP confirmed it was conducting a feasibility study on the automation of the 500-strong haul-truck fleet that speeds across its iron ore mines in the Pilbara in Western Australia, its coal mines in central Queensland and in NSW's Hunter Valley.
That the Pilbara was ready for the next iteration of its digital future was no surprise. That BHP was getting ready to roll out the robots across the coal fields was. For a host of reasons physical, technical and social, replacing people power with thinking machines in coal country is a very different challenge to the automation of BHP Iron Ore.
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