A new underground mine electric vehicle (EV) has been showcased in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, promising a “rEVolution for mining operations”.
The ‘TRITEV is believed to be the first fully battery-electric retrofit 20 t loader suitable for deployment into underground hard-rock mines. It has been developed in Australia for the mining industry alongside Safescape’s Bortana EV, launched in 2019.
A collaboration between 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment to deliver the fully operational TRITEV prototype is anticipated to represent a successful shift away from diesel-run vehicles for Aeris Resources and its Tritton copper project in New South Wales.
With the TRITEV now complete and operating with a capability that meets or exceeds the diesel variant, 3ME Technology believes the platform will be a key player in the drive to decarbonise, and eliminate the issue of diesel particulate matter underground all while saving on the high operating costs associated with mine shaft ventilation and the running of an ageing diesel fleet.
The electric vehicle has been developed under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which bring together Australian METS companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support the improved productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the Australia’s leading METS sector.
Justin Bain, 3ME Technology’s CEO, who unveiled the TRITEV at this week’s event, said: “The TRITEV has been the result of a heavily collaborative effort. Whilst it’s been a challenging integration process, we’ve enjoyed working closely with all parties and we are now in position to replicate these models at scale.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Batt Mobile Equipment. Their industry knowledge, vehicle design expertise and mechanical acumen is second to none. We felt today would be the perfect time to announce we have formalised our partnership, which we believe will mark the Hunter [Valley] as a powerhouse in the battery-electric mining space.”
METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the showcase highlights the immense capability of Australia’s METS sector to deliver technologies to improve sustainable mining practices.
“METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre is pleased to support the commercialisation of technologies enabling safety improvements for Australia’s mining industry and potential global partners,” Beer said.
3ME Technology COO, Martin Kime, said the TRITEV is already receiving strong interest from the underground mining industry.
“With hundreds of these platforms in mines across Australia, we have seen significant interest from other miners in the battery-electric retrofit of existing platforms,” Kime said. “From the conversations we’ve had, what is driving the orders we’ve received is the recognition that there is an absolute need to remove diesel and many miners realise that by getting in early they will secure access to the platforms.
“Given the demand, we look forward to bringing jobs to the Hunter, helping with the COVID recovery whilst creating next-generation, clean-battery technology!”
With a range of additional mining vehicles out there to be electrified, building on the success of the ‘Project EVmine’, it is anticipated the METS Ignited, Safescape, Aeris Resources, 3ME Technology, Batt Mobile Equipment partnership will continue with its quest to electrify underground mining to increase the standards of workplace health and safety for the miners, benefit the environment while allowing miners be more competitive on the global market via significant savings to operating expenses, METS Ignited said.