BHP Billiton to cut contractors at its iron ore operations

In a fresh initiative to cut costs and boost productivity, BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) is fast-tracking the modernization of its Pilbara iron ore division by launching a new remote operation centre in Perth.

According to the Sidney Morning Herald, the Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) will allow the firm reduce contractor spending and bring staff back in-house, which will be trained in tele-controlling operations and driverless trucks.

BHP iron ore boss, Jimmy Wilson, told reporters the IROC is central to the company’s goal of producing 220 million tonnes of iron ore a year as it will help the firm gauge a better understanding of its key supply chain.

The world’s largest miner operates seven iron ore mines along with 1,000 kilometres of rail and two separate port facilities in the Pilbara.

The high-tech location provides a real-time view of the company's entire iron ore operations in the region, including plants, trains and ports located thousands of kilometres away.