Vale and CSN beginning deployment of Chinese wide body battery electric mining trucks for trials in Brazil

On May 18, XCMG Brasil, part of China’s Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co Ltd (XCMG), one of the world’s largest construction and mining equipment suppliers, signed a contract for supply of its mining machinery to iron ore, nickel and copper mining major, Vale. The signing ceremony took place at the XCMG Brasil site in Pouso Alegre, Minas Gerais.

In addition to development and cooperation for the manufacture of mining machinery, the agreement establishes the following points: product development aimed at decarbonisation, electric lines of machinery and development of autonomous products.

The signing of this first contract is an important step, building on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in October 2021 for potential equipment supply. XCMG says it is committed to serving global customers by providing mining solutions, a sustainable product line and zero carbon emissions. The MOU included two electric battery-powered mining haul trucks of 72 t capacity with zero emissions – these are XDR80TE units which are set to arrive in early June 2022 and will operate in Vale’s Minas Gerais state iron ore operations. IM understands that they will use in-pit charging stations as opposed to battery swapping.

Elsewhere, in its Q1 2022 results released on May 4, fellow Brazilian iron ore mining major CSN Mineracao stated: “In Q1 2022, CSN Mineracao signed an important agreement with Sany to become the first mining company in Brazil to use 100% electric trucks in its fleet. Already in the second quarter of 2022 two trucks that will make up the fleet to transport mining tailings come into operation.” These two trucks are 60 t class SKT90E models which arrived in Brazil in mid-May 2022. This Sany model is also autonomous-ready.

While the use of wide body mining trucks has been increasing in Brazil in recent years, these developments show that it is now extending to battery electric versions. The pilot testing of these smaller class battery electric trucks will serve as valuable experience in Brazilian mining for later introduction of larger class rigid battery electric mining trucks. The earlier XCMG MOU with Vale included mention of another electric truck up to 240 t class with zero emissions will also be tested at a date to be defined. This is likely to be a battery version of the XDE240 truck which is already equipped with electric drive.