Battery-electric vehicles dominate in GMG Electric Mine project survey

A survey aimed at defining priorities for the GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project has highlighted that despite the rise of other diesel-alternative technologies, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to be the area of focus for the mine electrification community.

Respondents to the survey were asked about what types of equipment to prioritise, with haul trucks and LHD trucks coming up top out of all equipment and BEVs topping the results when it came to electric equipment types.

In terms of the latter, BEVs beat off competition from hydrogen fuel cells, trolley assist systems and tethered equipment, commanding more than three quarters of the votes.

GMG remarked: “Some commentators noted that this will be different depending on underground or open pit (eg BEVs underground, trolley for open pit), so this result may be skewed due to the large representation of underground mining in the survey.”

In the survey, performance was noted as the highest priority in terms of types of information that will provide value, GMG said.

However, the results of the workshops held under the project identified that there would be certain types of information that can be used to provide value in overlapping areas (eg they may help operations make performance comparisons and also identify operational or maintenance needs).

Highlights include:

  • Information about the daily cycle and time usage in comparison to diesel;
  • Identifying what information should be available in real time;
  • Information or metrics for comparing charging strategies;
  • Information for assessing and updating charging infrastructure;
  • Training information for operators, safety personnel and maintenance technicians; and
  • Information on heat generation.

And the following priorities were identified in the survey and workshops when it came to the uses of this information:

  • Understanding capital and operating costs;
  • Developing the business case;
  • Developing a charging philosophy and strategy;
  • Understanding safety requirements and improving safety; and
  • Understanding infrastructure, design and planning requirements.

The GMG noted: “These results may be influenced by the higher representation of underground mining professionals and that 64% of respondents are North American and similar representation at the workshops.”

The survey was open between April and June 2020 with 95 respondents (as of June 9). Underground mining was more heavily represented than surface, but many respondents specialised in both, according to GMG. Professionals (engineers, geologists, metallurgists, etc) were the most highly represented (26%) while corporate senior management (17%) and corporate technology leaders (17%) were also well represented.

The GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project aims to create a neutral platform to capture performance data for electric surface and underground equipment based on the industry’s knowledge and experience, GMG says.