Boliden’s Garpenberg zinc operation in Sweden will become the first mine in Europe to trial the battery-electric Sandvik LH518B LHD, the OEM has confirmed.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and Boliden have agreed on a 12-month collaborative trial period for the new 18-t battery-electric loader.
Garpenberg is considered the world’s most productive underground zinc mine and Sweden’s oldest mining area still in operation. As a purely battery-powered loader, the Sandvik LH518B will support Boliden’s efforts to improve sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions underground. The trial is planned to start in late 2022.
The Sandvik LH518B is easy to implement in most underground operations, as it does not require any major changes to mine infrastructure, Sandvik said. The loader’s Sandvik AutoSwap and AutoConnect features facilitate seamless installation of a fresh battery in less than six minutes, enabling it to return to operation sooner than ‘fast-charge’ mining BEVs. The battery swap is performed by the loader itself, controlled by the operator in the cabin, without need for overhead cranes or forklifts.
As a third-generation BEV, the Sandvik LH518B has been designed from the ground up entirely around its battery system and electric driveline to fully leverage on the battery system possibilities.
Garpenberg joins a host of other mines across the globe trialling this battery-electric LHD. There are two trials set to take place in Australia – at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine and Gold Fields’ Hamlet North mine – plus units at New Gold’s New Afton in Canada, Kennecott Utah Copper’s underground development project at Bingham Canyon and Gold Fields’ South Deep operation in South Africa.