Hindustan Zinc continues pioneering underground electrification journey with commitment to introduce Normet BEVs

In a pioneering move to decarbonise Indian mining, Hindustan Zinc today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Finnish technology firm Normet Group Oy to introduce battery-powered service equipment and utility vehicles in its underground mines. Taking a step closer to achieving carbon neutrality, Hindustan Zinc is set to introduce Normet SmartDrive Vehicles (NSDVs) in its operations, enabling the mines to become more environment friendly and sustainable.

The company stated: “This is the first of its kind initiative that has been taken up in India in the mining sector. HZL is the leader in deploying transformational and sustainable technology in mining. It has taken another decisive step for their sustainable and smart operations in an operational field dominated by legacy technologies. This partnership is a testament to the focus of Hindustan Zinc on driving the green economy by reiterating its commitment to environmental solutions. It will help HZL achieve its Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) of 0.5mn tCO2e reduction by 2025 by attaining zero noise pollution, zero harm to the environment and zero carbon emission.”

Commenting on the MoU, Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc said: “At Hindustan Zinc, we have always prioritised innovating and implementing environment-friendly solutions as our commitment to sustainable business and now towards the Race to Net Zero. Our partnership with Normet reinforces our commitment to sustainable operations for a greener tomorrow by helping us achieve our Sustainability Development Goal of reducing carbon emissions. We believe the introduction of Battery Electric Vehicle in underground mining will be a game-changer for the industry and a big leap by India towards Responsible Mining.”

Subhasis Mohanty, Vice President, India Sales Area and MD Normet India said: “At Normet, our mission is to bring transformation in sustainable underground mining. It is our constant effort to increase the safety levels underground and improve productivity while designing solutions for sustainable operations. Our partnership with Hindustan Zinc for the Normet SmartDrive Vehicles is a step on our collective journey for safe, sustainable and green mining.”

As a leader and pioneer in driving electromobility in underground mining in India, Hindustan Zinc says it “strongly believes that it is important to encourage manufacturers to design and build innovative sustainable solutions, equipment and mining vehicles of tomorrow.”

Hindustan Zinc and Normet Group Oy “both share the common values of safety, sustainability, innovation, and technology as an integral part of running operations. This is a strong foundation that lends itself strongly in line with the global trend of industrial activities moving towards building sustainable partnerships that bring efficiency and expertise to their businesses.” The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) makes Hindustan Zinc the first mining company in India to deploy Battery Electric Utility Vehicles in underground mining.

Sustainable development is an integral part of Hindustan Zinc’s business philosophy and the company’s COO Mines, Praveen Sharma emphasised that this partnership with Normet will further its efforts towards responsible mining and that the company is thrilled to introduce India’s first battery electric utility vehicles in underground mines on the road towards a greener future.

The Normet SmartDrive EV will significantly help HZL in saving a huge amount in HSD (High Speed Diesel) and its maintenance. For instance, a Normet machine consumes 15-17 litres of HSD per hour. The average life cycle for these vehicles operated on HSD are 20,000 hours. By substituting these HSD vehicles with Normet SmartDrive battery operated vehicles, around 3 lakh litres (300,000 litres) of High Speed Diesel can be saved per vehicle. In total, by substituting three SmartDrive EV’s for HSD vehicles, almost 10 lakh litres (1 million litres) of fuel can be saved.

In the first phase of the partnership, Hindustan Zinc will deploy three Normet SmartDrive EVs – a Spraymec, an Utimec Agitator, and a Charmec in its underground mines. Normet SmartDrive is a modular Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) architecture designed to optimise energy consumption and performance in underground mining and tunnelling applications. The SmartDrive equipment enable higher productivity, lower operating costs and most importantly – zero local emissions. Built-in energy recuperation technology maximises the storing of regenerative braking energy during downhill driving and deacceleration of SmartDrive equipment. In addition, efficient hydraulic dual-circuit oil immersed brakes provide additional braking power when it is needed.

Earlier this year, Hindustan Zinc had also signed an MoU with Epiroc Rock Drills AB to introduce a frontline primary equipment fleet of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) in its underground mines.