In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Indian mining sector, Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), a Vedanta group company, has introduced a Normet Agitator SmartDrive EV, into its underground mining operations. The company will soon expand its BEV fleet with Normet’s Explosive Charger (CHARMEC MC 605 V SD) and Concrete Sprayer (SPRAYMEC MF 050 VC SD).
Hindustan Zinc is the first company among its peers to join the EV revolution, steadily switching to electric vehicles for its underground operations. The company has set a target of replacing or converting all diesel-run 900-odd mining vehicles into battery operated ones over the next five years and has earmarked an investment of over $1 billion for the same period.
Hindustan Zinc, together with Finnish technology company Normet Group Oy, has introduced battery-powered service equipment and utility vehicles into underground mining to help decarbonise and improve environmental sustainability in the mining industry. Each of the Normet SmartDrive EVs are based on a modular Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) architecture that is designed to optimise energy consumption and performance in underground mining, including tunnelling applications.
The SmartDrive EVs enable higher productivity, lower operating costs, and, most importantly, zero emissions. The BEVs have been inducted at the company’s Sindesar Khurd (SK) mine which is a world class silver-rich zinc mine in Rajasthan with state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities and best-in-class mechanisation.
Commenting on the induction of the EVs, Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, said: “Our aim at Hindustan Zinc is to revolutionise underground mining, boost productivity, raise underground safety standards, and provide sustainable operations solutions. Thanks to our unwavering commitment to environmentally sustainable business and net zero emissions, we’ve always focused on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions. I believe the introduction of battery-electric vehicles in Hindustan Zinc’s underground mining operations will revolutionise the sector and mark a great step forward for India in terms of responsible mining.”
Speaking on the occasion, Subhasis Mohanty, Managing Director, Normet India, said: “We are pleased to partner with Hindustan Zinc to solidify our ESG commitment, by bringing into reality the first of our fleet of Normet SmartDrive® BEVs in HZL underground mines. Our association has been valuable to drive common goals on sustainability and decarbonisation in the Indian mining sector, driving transformation in the underground space and building long-term value for all our stakeholders.”
Hindustan Zinc says it will gain considerable benefits from the adoption of Normet SmartDrive EVs, including significant HSD savings and vehicle maintenance. These SmartDrive electric vehicles are powered by 90 kWh lithium-ion batteries and come equipped with myriad advanced technologies such as energy recuperation technology, hydraulic dual-circuit oil-immersed brakes to provide additional braking power, etc. The vehicles also have the advantage of zero-emission in the operating environments, considerable noise and vibration reduction associated with equipment. In addition to that, BEVs comes with high-efficiency driveline and consumes less kWh/km compared to diesel ones.
Hindustan Zinc is a pioneer in the sector, continually deploying transformational and sustainable technologies in pursuit of sustainable mining. The introduction of the EVs serves as yet another decisive step for its sustainable and smart operations goals. Hindustan Zinc’s abiding commitment to sustainability and environmental-friendly solutions, then, puts it on the path to achieve its Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) of achieving a 0.5 Mt CO2e reduction by 2025.