Iron ore mining giant Australian BHP has begun testing two new automated shiploaders at its Port Hedland export facility in Western Australia’s Pilbara, in a move that will provide significant safety, production and cost benefits. In what is a world first, 3D laser scan technology has been used in the AUD 50 million project, which will fully automate eight shiploaders by 2023. The eight shiploaders at BHP’s Nelson Point and Finucane Island operations are responsible for loading about 1500 bulk ore carriers every year, exporting approximately 280 million tonnes of iron ore to global customers in 2021. The project is expected to enable an increase in production of more than one million tonnes each year, through the combination of greater precision, reduced spillage, faster load times, and equipment optimisation. The shiploaders will transition towards becoming fully automated later this year. Once completed, the ship loading operations will be operated from the Integrated Remote Operations Centre in Perth.