Global mining major BHP recently received the first hybrid crawler dozer in South America, which will start operating at the Escondida copper mine in Chile in December 2022. The initiative – led by the Vice President of Projects – it says is a sign of how the company seeks to advance in meeting its global decarbonisation goals. The Cat D6 XE machine has a diesel engine but utilises an electric drive system.
This project was developed in alliance with Caterpillar dealer Finning along with contractor company Constructora Emex Ltda. In addition, Escondida will receive a second additional hybrid crawler dozer, which will initially be used at the Laguna Seca tailings dam. This new machinery makes it possible to improve the efficiency of the mining process and move up to 8% more material per hour. In addition, it will allow BHP to reduce consumption of fossil fuels by up to 25% per tonne in dozer operation as well as reducing costs by 12%.
According to Laila Ellis, Vice President of HSE at BHP: “As a company we have the global goal of achieving zero net operating emissions by 2050 and undoubtedly, this initiative supports compliance with our decarbonisation and sustainability goals. We hope to continue being pioneers in the industry, and motivate other companies to take concrete actions to make mining a sustainable and responsible activity.”
In addition, the new bulldozers incorporate new technologies such as automatic optimisation to improve efficiency, new handling systems, operation at all speeds without the need to change gear and improvements to facilitate maintenance and repair processes. According to Pedro Correa, BHP’s Vice President of Projects: “The arrival of the new bulldozer represents much more than the receipt of new machinery: it implies that we are advancing steadily in our growth plan as a company, which looks to 2030 with the aspiration of continuing to strengthen our portfolio and target to exceptional performance. We will continue to innovate with scalable projects that improve the efficiency and projection of our operations.”
This initiative is added to other projects promoted by the company, such as the rolling out of autonomous trucks at Spence and Escondida in Chile, as well as other operations worldwide like South Flank, Daunia, Newman East, Goonyella and elsewhere, making BHP already one of the largest operators of autonomous equipment in mining.