BMAs Jonathon Regan working from home.
BMAs Jonathon Regan working from home.

New tech allows critical CQ mine staff to work from home

FOR Hayden Bachmann, working from home has been a dream.

The scheduling manager at Blackwater coal mine is one of many BMA staff members working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic - a task that was previously made difficult by technological requirements.

Some of the teams on BMA 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 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 BMAs Queensland Coal business.

Mine schedulers such as Mc Bachmann are responsible for designing mine pits and creating weekly mining schedules that tell BMAs operational teams where to dig.

They perform a critical role that keeps BMA workers safe and operations production.

Mr Bachmann said the transition from site to remote working was 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."

It's a similar story for Jonathan Regan, the mine scheduling manager at BMAs Caval Ridge coal mine.

Mr Regan manages a team of around 20 engineers and has been impressed wih how they've taken to remote working.

"We're still in regular contact with the execution teams on the ground," Mr Regan 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."

Mr Regan said remotely staying in contact and performing their regular roles had done a lot for the mental health of his team members.

"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," he said.