Underground innovation lands Larnie new Maptek award

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Inaugural Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award winner Larnie Mackay is driven to provide a better future for underground coal miners.

The Underground Digital Transformation Project Lead at Anglo American Metallurgical Coal this month claimed the new award as part of the BHP 2020 Women in Resources National Awards for her pioneering digitisation of underground coal mining.

Larnie Mackay was awarded the Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award on September 16. Picture: MCA

Larnie was recognised at the awards hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia for her innovation and perseverance in developing the first, and so far only, electronic tablet device certified for unrestricted use in underground coal mining in Australia.

‘Our underground tablets have changed the way we work. They’re giving our underground coal mine workers access to all of our safety information at their fingertips, helping improve communications by providing the ability to make calls to the surface whenever assistance is required, supporting the digitisation of our operations and removing paper forms, which assists in Anglo American’s sustainability roadmap,’ Larnie, who is based in Moranbah in Central Queensland, says.

The next generation tablet is much smaller and lighter. Picture: MCA

‘I’m overwhelmed at winning the Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award particularly with all the fantastic technology and innovation work being undertaken throughout the resource sector.’

Having moved from a legal office into the resources sector 25 years ago, Larnie says she will never forget the underground tablet passing certification and implementing it at Moranbah North in March last year.

‘This project has definitely been a ride of emotions but a project I would do all over again in a heartbeat.’

Larnie is committed to continual improvement – the first underground tablet weighed 2.3kg but the next generation version a mere 890g.

(‘It’s a) phenomenal improvement with regards to ergonomics and continually providing a better future for underground coal mine workers.

‘Technology and innovation never stops. There’s always new things coming along.’

Maptek CEO Eduardo Coloma said Larnie perfectly embodied the spirit of the award.

‘It’s terrific to see Larnie using technical innovation to make her workplace safer and drive efficiency and sustainability,’ he said.

‘Congratulations to Larnie, Anglo American, the other nominees and award winners, and all those embracing technical innovation in the industry.

‘Keep pushing the boundaries – with the right mindset, support and partners it’s incredible what we can achieve.’

The Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award highlights the innovative solutions that are being developed and applied to improve safety, boost efficiency and enhance productivity across the Australian resources sector.

The 2020 Finalists were:

  • Ellie Barnes from Hastings Deering in Queensland for her project Digital Transformation Accelerator
  • Priya Gore from BHP in Queensland for her project 4G Long Term Evolution
  • Ellie Hawkins from CMOC-Northparkes Mines near Parkes in New South Wales for her project WebGen100 
  • Genéne Kleppe from Digital Twinning Australia in Adelaide for building a Dynamic Digital Twin
  • Larnie Mackay from Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine in Queensland for pioneering digitisation of underground coal mining.

Watch the full BHP 2020 Women in Resources National Awards on the Minerals Council of Australia’s Youtube Channel



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