BHP chief technology officer calls on industry to step up recruiting efforts

December 1, 2022

The global mining industry is challenged with attracting a new generation of workers to the field that has become increasingly more reliant on technology. In the December issue of Mining Engineering, some of these challenges are discussed at length. These challenges were also discussed by BHP Group Chief Technology Officer Laura Tyler during a mining event in Melbourne, Australia.

Reuters reported that Tyler told the Melbourne Mining Club that the industry must step in its efforts to attract workers with digital skills or it will “lose out to the “cool kids” of Google and Amazon.”

The global mining industry relies on technology to manage tasks such as automated truck fleets, and using artificial intelligence to delve into reams of data and discover the next big deposit, said Tyler.

“We need more technologists, more data scientists and more mathematicians,” she told a Melbourne Mining Club lunch, according to a prepared speech.

“We compete for such talent not just with each other, but with the cool kids such as Google and Amazon … the defense and pharmaceuticals industries, government and NGOs,” she told the business luncheon. “Increasingly, we need more digital skills in every aspect of what we do.”
A PwC analysis last year suggested that by 2040, the industry will need 21 percent more mining engineers and geotech engineers, and 29 percent more metallurgists than it had in 2020, she said.

“We need to train them now … and we need to make sure they see the mining industry as stable, attractive, and dare I say it, exciting,” she said.
Reuters reported that Australia’s mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue have redoubled efforts to attract new workers to an industry confronting a dire skills shortage, and concerns over job security, sexual harassment and social license.

BHP’s First Year Intern program was oversubscribed seven times and resulted in 60 graduates deciding to switch to resources-facing subjects for their next year of university, she said.

A program at Adelaide University is developing a pipeline of exploration geologists, specializing in finding ore deposits deep beneath the surface.
BHP has also established a reentry program to welcome back those who left the industry, while Rio Tinto’s efforts to advance jobs in automation and industry efforts to train metallurgists are all bearing fruit – but are still not enough, Tyler said.



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