BHP set to receive first Caterpillar Early Learner battery electric mining truck

On June 11, members of BHP’s Operational Decarbonisation team visited Caterpillar’s Tucson Proving Ground to witness the CAT 793 battery-electric haul truck (BEHT) in action. The first Early Learner CAT 793 BEHT is on its way to BHP, crossing hemispheres and making its way ‘down under’ before rubber hits the haul road at the Jimblebar iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara in October 2024.

BHP Vice President Operational Decarbonisation, Dan Heal, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be here in Tucson seeing this battery-electric truck in action. Not only do these trials represent an important step on BHP’s operational decarbonisation journey, but the technical outcomes could help to inform how we approach these challenges moving forward. As we progress towards potential deployments, we need to consider how we plan our mines, manage power demand, charge equipment, the skills we will need, and most importantly, safety.”

BHP Vice President Global Mining and Services, Sebastian Greco said: “Taking action requires us to challenge the market to approach technology development differently. It requires the industry to innovate and adopt new collaborative methods, to identify solutions through studies and proof-of-concept trials, and it requires us to learn together as we go. Securing the first CAT Early Learner battery-electric haul truck is a reflection of the ongoing collaboration between BHP and Caterpillar and we are thrilled to be working together on this trial.”

In preparation, BHP’s Jimblebar mine is completing upgrades to site electrical transmission and distribution to enable high power charging infrastructure.

The mining group stated: “At BHP, we are taking action to decarbonise our operations, by seeking to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in three keyways: diesel displacement, fugitive emissions elimination, and electrification. We have a plan to reach our operational GHG emission reduction medium term target and long-term goal at each of our operations. Our strategy aims to decarbonise our mining equipment and operations by switching from diesel to renewable electricity or more sustainable, lower emissions fuel sources.”