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By Rhiannon Hoyle
SINGAPORE--BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) is planning another hiring spree for its technology division, as it races to roll out automated equipment, advanced sensors and artificial intelligence that the company predicts will make its operations more reliable and efficient.
The commodity giant, whose operations span Australia to Chile and the Gulf of Mexico, last year added roughly 1,000 new jobs in its technology unit and executives are planning another "big program" of hiring within months, said Chief Technology Officer Diane Jurgens.
The exact number of extra roles is yet to be decided, Ms. Jurgens said in an interview, but she is eager for the "second wave" to begin within BHP's current financial year, which runs until June 30, 2019.
Mining companies have been scrambling to bolster their technology expertise as part of an ongoing focus on productivity gains and cost cuts, which has in recent years sparked widespread layoffs in the industry. Companies including BHP, which now has roughly 27,000 full-time employees, have been rolling out everything from automated trucks to 3D-mapping drones as they seek to dig deeper, more cheaply and get commodities to market quicker.
Ms. Jurgens said technology projects "usually rank really high" in the value they add to the company. "Because we see a big enough demand, we absolutely do need" to continue to add staff in that area, she said.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 31, 2018 17:26 ET (21:26 GMT)
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