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Virtual Reality is the Next Frontier for Mining

Step inside one of our mining projects – BHP’s South Flank iron ore mine development – with the aid of immersive technology. 

Since coming to market in 2016, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) products from companies such as Oculus VR, Sony and Google are being used to shape the next frontier for mining. As the world moves from mobile to immersive technology, Jacobs is using Oculus VR to achieve better outcomes for our mining clients and their projects. In Perth, Western Australia, our team is using Oculus VR to place themselves virtually inside one of our mining projects—BHP's South Flank iron ore mine development. Through the use of VR, our team is able to undertake safety and design reviews for the iron ore project in a new way.

 “The VR approach is providing a level of immersion and experience that the team hasn’t experienced before. It is also being developed at a cheaper cost than traditional 3D models can provide,” said Jacobs South Flank Project Manager Reto Ammann. “Being able to walk, climb and interact with the project virtually is providing higher accuracy in design, and resulting in an end product of higher quality and safety.”

“Another added advantage of this approach is that it enables the handover of intelligent data and deliverables into execution and operations, providing efficiencies and safety benefits downstream.”

The VR model was based on the design created by our team in a fully integrated SmartPlant environment.  It allows the team to immerse themselves in the major process infrastructure and non-process infrastructure, including the 80 MTPA crushing and screening plant, conveyor systems, a stockyard, train loading facilities, a workshop, a diesel refueling facility and more!  

A combination of a brownfield upgrade and a greenfield development, the project will expand the existing Mining Area C operation with ore sourced from the adjacent South Flank deposit when complete. 


Jacobs Mining, Minerals and Technology SVP and GM Andrew Berryman visits South Flank virtually using Oculus VR


Virtual reality of the South Flank iron ore mine development project


BHP Mining Area C


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