Sandvik says it understands the underground hard-rock mining industry’s need for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles and, as a result, is working on even more solutions to cater to this demand.
Innovations and ideas for these future solutions are being discussed and validated in customer forums, participated by several major mining houses, and organised by the OEM.
These customer workshops and forums have proven to be an effective and successful means of collaboration, according to the company.
“Today, Sandvik understands customer needs for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles, and uses these forums to discuss the changes, challenges, and opportunities that electrification is expected to bring to the mining industry,” it said.
As part of Sandvik’s customer validation process, pioneering mining houses get their voices heard and needs analysed in discussion forums, the company says. One example is Goldcorp, which is developing the world’s first all-electric underground mine in northern Ontario, Canada, at the Borden Lake gold project, and presented in the recent Canada customer forum.
Sandvik said: “The benefits that electrification and battery-electric equipment are expected to bring – for the Borden Lake mine as well as any other operation planning to introduce new technology – will include, for example, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced diesel fuel consumption, and reduced power consumption.
“Additionally, as diesel engines are replaced with battery-electric solutions, underground mines will produce less heat, noise and exhaust gases, including diesel particulate matter. Thus, the innovative technology will result in decreased mine ventilation needs, which are currently a significant cost factor in deep and complex underground mines.”
While Sandvik’s customer electrification forum occurred recently, previous efforts have been instrumental steps in the journey to providing an electrified product offering to replace diesel, the company said.
Sandvik has previously developed innovative products for the underground mining industry such as electric LHDs, remote control LHDs, and automation.
Learnings following two years of testing with the Sandvik LH307 battery LHD prototype (pictured) have been important building blocks to the knowledge bank, which is guiding the ongoing R&D efforts, and have driven a clear understanding that “successful electrification implementation involves much more than simply replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery”, Sandvik says.
“Thus, solutions in progress at Sandvik are based on a holistic approach of electrified equipment, ensuring that the final products make no compromises to performance.”
Mats Eriksson, President of Product Area Load and Haul, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Finding new solutions to reduce heat and emissions in underground mines, without compromising the customer’s productivity, is perfectly in line with our strategy, safety first.
“Also the targeted benefits of battery electric vehicles speak for Sandvik’s aim to align with the United Nations Global Sustainability Development Goals. We believe that developing battery electric technology is one of the future directions to take.”
IM will be hosting The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, Canada, on April 4-5, 2019, where developments in this fast-evolving sector will be discussed. For more information on the event, click here.