In Kiruna, Sweden, tests are ongoing to set a new world standard for sustainable mining. In the process to achieve this, LKAB has ordered more industry-leading battery-electric vehicles from Epiroc to be tested for future carbon dioxide-free operations. The newly ordered equipment, Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery machines, will be used both in LKAB’s main Kiruna iron ore mine for production and in the Konsuln test mine, a testbed that was created in a separate section of LKAB’s Kiruna underground mines.
The order comes as a result of the SUM (Sustainable Underground Mining) collaborative project where participating companies have formed an alliance to achieve the goal of setting a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depths. The partners (LKAB, Epiroc, Combitech, ABB and Sandvik) are working together to find new methods and smarter solutions for mining operations of the future. “Our goal is to develop intelligent, highly productive and CO2-free machine systems”, says Niklas Fors, Senior Project Manager Global Strategic Projects and Alliances at Epiroc. “We are proud to deliver the world’s greenest machines to LKAB. What we are developing makes a difference not only for underground operations, but for the planet as such.”
“LKAB is no stranger to electric machines in mining” says Thomas Kammerby, Senior Project Leader at LKAB. “LHDs have been running electrically (cable powered) for quite some years. LKAB is striving to eliminate the use of fossil-based fuels as soon as possible and is therefore pushing to start testing alternatives to primarily diesel engines. Since LKAB always prioritises ‘safety first’ it is imperative that we take part in the development work around battery machines to understand all aspects of eg logistics, performance, handling of fire hazards.”
Thomas Kammerby continues: “The alliance setup provides early access to battery machines and allows us to test several applications in a controlled fashion providing high confidence regarding the design of future CO2-free mining”.
In addition, LKAB has ordered Epiroc’s BaaS (Batteries as a Service) solution for the ordered battery machines. With Batteries as a Service, Epiroc works directly with the customer to define a battery plan that suits the needs of their operation. The lifespan is guaranteed and the battery status is carefully monitored to ensure predictive maintenance with reduced downtime. If a customer wants to increase or decrease their capacity, they can adjust their plan and the service will be tailored to meet their requirements. The order will be delivered during 2021.
Epiroc says it offers the widest fleet of underground battery-electric vehicles and has a circular, sustainable offering that also includes recycling. Epiroc aims to offer its complete range of underground mining equipment as battery electric versions by 2025.