Thursday, October 26, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A new, cutting-edge Virtual Reality (VR) laboratory marks a significant stride toward revolutionising workforce development and readiness in the mining industry.
On 20th October, Anglo American and the Resources Centre of Excellence (RCOE) came together to deliver their purpose-built, fully integrated VR laboratory to better prepare workers for the mine site.
The lab is designed to equip mining professionals, training organisations and community groups with immersive experiences and advanced learning tools.
This technology allows users to gain access to more than 20 training modules, ranging from critical safety protocols to advanced mining techniques and technologies.
A growing list of courses includes working at height, hazard identification, boom and scissor lift operation, hand safety, and working with hazardous substances but there is also potential for site-specific courses to be developed.
Anglo American’s Australia CEO Dan van der Westhuizen said safety, innovation and sustainability were critical to the future of mining in Queensland.
He said the VR lab would become a vital companion to on-the-job training, allowing workers to learn key skills in a safe and supportive environment.
"This new partnership exemplifies our commitment to fostering innovation and preparing the mining workforce for the future,” he said.
“New technologies will require new skills and the lab is a significant step forward in harnessing virtual reality to train and upskill our teams.
“The lab can be used for graduate assessment, trades assessment and onboarding, site inductions and industry problem solving.”
RCOE CEO Steven Boxall said he looked forward to booking mining companies, training organisations and community/school groups to use the VR lab for training solutions, problem solving and technology trials.
“Everyone is talking about virtual reality but it’s hard to test and trial it without access to the hardware and the relevant training platform,” he said.
“Anglo American’s support has enabled our region to now have access to all of that via Next World Enterprises who developed the VR platform.
Aquila Mine General Manager Shane McDowall, who has also been RCOE Board Chairman for the past year, said this virtual reality technology could pave the way for a new era in training for mine sites like his.
“Being able to immerse new-to-industry personnel in real-world situations without the presence of hazards will help raise awareness around hazards and fundamental controls required in our industry.
“It's not only a tool for Anglo American but also for the wider community to experience and learn about the industry in a highly immersive and safe environment."
CEO Dan van der Westhuizen and RCOE CEO Steven Boxall introducing the new VR labs
Photo credit: Sinead Porter