Tag Archives: ABB

Boliden’s trolley journey continues to evolve with Kevitsa line launch

In its latest move to become the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world, Boliden has opened the trolley line at its Kevitsa mine in Finland.

The line, which encompasses a 1.3-km-long track, now has three Komatsu 227 t 830E-5 trucks running on it, according to Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden. “The following 10 trucks will be converted in the spring of 2023 when the in-pit trolley line will be commissioned,” he told IM.

This project aims to cut the mine’s carbon dioxide emissions, with estimates the volume of CO2 emitted could reduce by 9% over mine’s lifetime using this electrical infrastructure.

Boliden is not new to trolley operations. It started testing trucks on the Kevitsa line late last year, while its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden ran electric-drive trucks on trolley as far back as 2018.

Following a two-year trolley assist pilot project on a 700-m-long line at Aitik – which saw Eitech and ABB supply electrical infrastructure; Pon Equipment and Caterpillar carry out truck modifications; and Chalmers University provide supporting research on system aspects of the electrification – the company, in late-2019, decided to further invest in trolley operations at Aitik. This was announced at the same time as the Kevitsa trolley plans.

Romedahl confirmed there are now 14 Caterpillar 313 t 795F ACs trucks running on a 1.7-km-long trolley line at Aitik, which will be extended as the depth of the mine increases.

Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden

While all the trucks at these two operations use diesel-powered propulsion after they come off the trolley infrastructure, Romedahl said the plan was to convert them to ‘zero emission’ solutions in the future, with a battery-trolley setup under consideration.

“Yes, this is the long-term strategy,” he said. “Boliden is working closely with our suppliers to achieve this in the upcoming years.”

With the world requiring many more mines to electrify industry, Romedahl was hopeful more of these would move towards fossil-free operation.

“At Boliden we have the vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world,” he said. “That is not something you can have as a vision without doing quite a lot in the field of sustainable company development. The trolley lines are one of many activities we do to reach that vision.

“For Boliden, it is crucial to perform in the direction of fossil freeness as soon as possible. The green transition can’t happen in 10 years; it needs to happen now.”

ABB to divest minority stake in Hitachi Energy JV

ABB says it has reached an agreement to divest its remaining 19.9% stake in the Hitachi Energy joint venture that was formed from ABB’s Power Grids business in 2020 to Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi has exercised its call option that was agreed between the parties in December 2018, agreeing to pay $1.679 billion to acquire the minority stake.

The companies have agreed to settle remaining obligations relating to the original transaction, and ABB will continue to provide transition services to Hitachi Energy for it to fully separate from ABB’s systems, ABB says.

ABB does not expect to record any significant gain or loss as a result of the sale, expecting net positive cash inflows of approximately $1.425 billion upon closing of the sale.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and closing is expected to happen in the December quarter of 2022.

Timo Ihamuotila, Chief Financial Officer of ABB, said: “We are delighted to have agreed on the final part of the transaction earlier than expected and on favourable terms. This will further strengthen our balance sheet and give us additional flexibility in our capital allocation decisions.”

Yoshihiko Kawamura, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, CFO of Hitachi, Ltd., and the Chair of the Board of Hitachi Energy, said in a separate press release: “We are pleased with the progress of Hitachi Energy and we look forward to supporting the Hitachi Energy 2030 Plan, as announced during Hitachi Investor Day 2022.”

Hitachi Energy says it is making good progress with its portfolio offering that is strengthening, expandin, and evolving the power system supporting customers and partners across the entire lifecycle to enable a sustainable, flexible and secure energy system. It says it is also well-positioned to accelerate the growing electrification of transportation, industry and building sectors with its long-term Hitachi Energy 2030 purpose-driven growth plan.

Copper Mountain increases scope of trolley assist haulage project

Copper Mountain’s 2021 ESG Report has highlighted the progress the company has made on its “net-zero journey”, with its ongoing trolley assist project in British Columbia, Canada, one of the key drivers towards hitting its major 2035 goal.

The company operates its namesake mine in BC, which has recently increased throughput to 45,000 t/d as part of this net-zero journey.

Earlier this year, the company commissioned its trolley assist project with the help of Komatsu, SMS, ABB, BC Hydro and CleanBC. This project, the first of its kind in North America and a key plank of Copper Mountain’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035, was designed to support four full-sized, trolley-capable 830E-5 Komatsu trucks at a time with hauling ore up a 1-km section of ramp in the operation’s main pit to its primary crusher.

Since commissioning the project, the company has amended its plan to convert seven trucks to trolley assist operation, now saying a total of 11 trolley-capable Komatsu trucks will be available to use trolley assist in the pit.

Each truck is expected to reduce diesel use by approximately 400 litres per hour, the company says, which equates to approximately 1 t of CO2 emissions.

“The trolley assist system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2019 levels,” Copper Mountain says. “This is based on calculated savings of 6,000 t CO2e/y for the initial seven trucks as calculated for the trial, which, when scaled to the full fleet of 28 trucks, would produce a savings of 24,000 t CO2e/y, or approximately 30% compared to 2019 levels.”

With additional trolley sections planned over the next five-to-seven years, Copper Mountain says it could see a reduction of carbon emissions of up to 50% compared with 2019 levels.

The fact the Copper Mountain Mine is connected to the BC electricity grid, which has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world due to being powered by clean and reliable hydroelectric power, makes the trolley assist project even more ‘sustainable’.

The company says it has been working with BC Hydro to upgrade the power supply infrastructure to the Copper Mountain Mine to provide more power for trolley assist and future power demands as it decarbonises and explores additional ways to electrify its operation.

Alongside the trolley assist project, Copper Mountain says it is working with partners to reduce emissions from diesel-powered haul trucks.

In 2021, it established a partnership with Cummins, Komatsu and SMS to test the use of a renewable diesel in haul trucks, and it continues to advance other partnerships to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Outside of trucks, Copper Mountain said it has targets to electrify its shovels in 2023 and drills in 2024.

Also in 2021, Copper Mountain collaborated with the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and IBM to build a digital carbon emissions certification system called Mines Digital Trust. Using blockchain technology to attach ESG disclosures to metal production, this program enabled transparency along the supply chain and allowed third parties to track responsible producers through the Open Climate Network, led by the OpenEarth Foundation and the UN Global Innovation, the company said.

ABB and Hydrogen Optimized Inc to accelerate RuggedCell high-power water electrolysis tech

ABB and Hydrogen Optimized Inc (HOI), the Canada-based technology innovator unlocking green hydrogen production at scale, have signed an agreement to expand the companies’ existing strategic relationship.

This includes an investment by ABB into Key DH Technologies Inc (KEY), the parent company of HOI, as it seeks to accelerate the fast-emerging green hydrogen production segment with unique large-scale architecture.

The signing follows the two companies’ showcase of their green hydrogen technologies at the August 23, 2022, German-Canadian Atlantic Renewable Hydrogen Expo in Stephenville, Newfoundland.

By accelerating the strategic collaboration between ABB and HOI launched in 2020, the two companies are advancing the deployment of economic large-scale green hydrogen production systems to decarbonise hard-to-abate industries that address a wide range of essential needs – energy, metals, cement, utilities, ammonia, fertilisers and fuels for aircraft, ships, trucks and rail, ABB says.

The companies will leverage their respective capabilities and resources to rapidly commercialise HOI’s patented RuggedCell™ high-power water electrolysis technology for the world’s largest green hydrogen plants. Water electrolysis is the process of applying electrical energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. RuggedCell technology converts renewable electricity such as hydro, solar and wind power into green hydrogen for industry.

“We look forward to building on our companies’ two-year working relationship to pursue the enormous global opportunity of green hydrogen,” Joachim Braun, Division President, ABB Process Industries (pictured on the left), said. “Following a rigorous validation of the RuggedCell technology, we are confident that, in combination with ABB’s high-power rectifiers, it can become a category leader in the large-scale green hydrogen segment. Our complementary technologies will strengthen the Hydrogen Optimized value proposition and fast-track the commercialisation of the RuggedCell.”

Andrew T.B. Stuart, President and CEO of KEY and HOI (pictured on the right), said: “This agreement positions us for success in the large-scale segment with customers requiring installations in the hundreds of megawatts to multi-gigawatts. ABB’s global footprint, commercial relationships and technology leadership in high-power rectifiers, distributed control systems and manufacturing automation provide us with the market reach and capabilities to achieve our company’s goals.”

The proceeds of ABB’s investment into KEY, led by ABB Technology Ventures, will be used to advance HOI’s intellectual property development, build up corporate capabilities for increased business activity and introduce automated manufacturing and robotics, ABB says. This will accelerate the rollout of gigawatt-scale electrolyser manufacturing.

ABB looks to acquire Siemens’ low voltage NEMA motor business

ABB says it has signed an agreement to purchase Siemens’ low voltage NEMA motor business in a move that could see NEMA’s mining customers in North America benefit from improved support.

With manufacturing operations in Guadalajara, Mexico, this acquisition provides a well-regarded product portfolio, a longstanding North American customer base, and an experienced operations, sales and management team, ABB says. The business employs around 600 people and generated revenues of approximately $63 million in 2021.

This transaction is part of the ABB Motion business area’s profitable growth strategy, allow the NEMA motors division to enhance its product offering, expand its supply chain relationships and improve support to its North American customer base, ABB said. It also offers the opportunity to better support the customers in Mexico with local manufacturing and sales.

ABB expects to benefit from identified synergies and to use the R&D expertise, supply chain relationships and market access to bring the combined portfolio to its full potential.

“This bolt-on acquisition creates strong value for ABB’s NEMA motors division,” Tarak Mehta, President ABB Motion, said. “Investing in the business and opening up sales opportunities in North America and especially Mexico will allow this business to be margin accretive to the ABB Motion business within 24 months.”

Jesse Henson, President of ABB’s NEMA motors division, added: “We have long appreciated the quality and design of these motors. Now that we have met the leadership team behind them, I am even more confident that, together, we can grow our combined businesses faster than either of us could alone. We look forward to adding the Siemens low voltage NEMA motor portfolio to our existing offering of ABB and Baldor-Reliance® industrial electric motors.”

The global NEMA motor industry, roughly $2.7 billion in size, ABB estimates, comprises industrial electric motors primarily used within North America. NEMA motors are essential components used to run equipment in industries such as food and beverage, oil and gas, mining & aggregates, and water & wastewater and in applications like those which move air, liquids and units.

ABB to highlight energy-saving potential of electric motors and VSDs with new digital service

A new digital service from ABB will, the company says, enable industrial operators to maximise energy efficiency and boost sustainability by identifying motor-driven equipment in their facilities with the best energy-saving potential.

The ABB Ability Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal service will draw on data measured from fleets of digitally connected electric motors and variable speed drives (VSDs) to show where and how much energy can be saved by upgrading to the latest high-efficiency technologies. Industrial operators can then make data-driven decisions when prioritising investments, the company says.

Upgrading to energy-efficient technology is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to lower energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions, ABB says. Across the world’s 300 million industrial motor-driven systems, there is potential to cut global electricity demand by up to 10% by switching to high-efficiency systems.

“The challenge for an industrial operator is knowing where to start in a fleet of hundreds of electrical motors,” Adrian Guggisberg, Division President of ABB Motion Services, says. “ABB developed the new Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal service to provide clarity by analysing motor data and identifying where businesses should focus investment to maximise energy-efficiency gains that reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions.”

Traditionally, an energy efficiency appraisal requires time-consuming manual collection and evaluation of data and covers only the largest motor-driven systems on a site as these are typically seen as having most potential for saving energy, ABB says. However, this could overlook significant energy-saving opportunities for electric powertrains that are smaller, less accessible or where energy-saving potential is not obvious.

The new digital appraisal service uses a plug-and-play approach to simplify energy efficiency assessments by pulling operational data remotely from across an entire fleet of digitally-connected motors. This provides much deeper insight into the business case and carbon footprint benefits of upgrading to high-efficiency motor-driven systems, while being much safer and faster.

Boliden on mining’s differentiation pathway

When Mikael Staffas joins a panel on stage at the EIT Raw Materials Summit in Berlin, Germany, to discuss building a world-leading raw materials industry for Europe next month, he will be able to reference more than a few examples of sector excellence from his own company.

The Sweden-based mining and metals company has been leading from the front for decades, leveraging new and innovative technology, employing a more diverse workforce and engaging local stakeholders and regulators in a manner viewed as progressive from peers across the globe.

Gaining recognition from your mining company peers is one thing but gaining it from the public and EU-based decision makers is something altogether different.

According to Staffas, CEO of the company, the latest summit, which takes place on May 23-25, is part of a series of actions and events slowly getting these two groups to understand the importance of raw materials and the companies that produce them.

“We are moving this industry away from a perception that we are part of the problem, to an environment where we are seen to be part of the solution,” he told IM.

Staffas says the raw materials industry has been viewed as fundamentally important to Europe for several years in terms of tackling the climate change challenge – which will be reinforced at the summit – but the “regionalisation of economies” that has been brought about by COVID and the more recent geopolitical situation means this importance has, once again, been reinforced.

Within this context, Staffas is due to discuss at the event the fundamental need for copper and nickel in the energy transition. He will also shine a light on the importance of lead and zinc in this evolving landscape.

Boliden, through its mines and smelters in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland, is a producer of all four of these metals. It can also add gold, silver, sulphuric acid, cobalt and palladium to the list.

As the general population is beginning to understand the importance of these raw materials and metals to their future, Boliden is trying to differentiate its own offering from the rest of its peers.

Not satisfied with simply matching the industry’s carbon emission and net zero goals to 2030 and beyond, Boliden has laid the gauntlet down to the rest of its competitors by registering two new products: Low-Carbon Copper and Low-Carbon Zinc.

The formula for these two low-carbon products is based on the production of finished metal, from cradle to gate, that has emissions of less than 1.5 t of CO2 per tonne of copper, compared with the global average of around 4 t of CO2 per tonne. For zinc, the threshold is even lower – less than 1 t of CO2 emissions per tonne of zinc, compared with the industry average of 2.5 t.

To this point, the introduction of both products has resulted in a slim premium over other products on the market, but Staffas still deems the launches as successful.

“The point was to differentiate our products, with many people expected to receive this differentiation,” he said.

The customers represented just one set of recipients, but Staffas said these new products also play into the ‘licence to operate’ equation, as well as discussions with authorities and non-governmental organisations.

The intention was to also lay down a benchmark the rest of the industry could start to use or discuss, he added.

Boliden’s carbon dioxide calculations include emissions along the entire value chain up to the customer according to the Scope 1, 2 and 3 Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle, following the ISO 14064-3 standard.

“While this might not be the only way to measure CO2, we think it is the best one,” Staffas said. “We are trying to force the industry to adopt a common way of measuring the CO2 footprint.”

This has led some of Boliden’s customers to enquire about how much embedded CO2 is in competitor zinc and copper products, ensuring the discussion spreads throughout the industry.

The obvious intention of devising such products is price, but Staffas said they also provide protection.

“When things get bad from an economical perspective, these products could really make a difference,” he said. “The customers might not pay extra for them, but if they scale down their purchases, our contracts should be the last to be cancelled.”

Staffas says Boliden is also aiming to add nickel and lead to its suite of low-carbon products in the future.

“Nickel is a special case for us as we don’t produce finished nickel; we produce a nickel matte,” he said. “We may team up with a refinery to make a joint product or do something else to ensure we can quantify the emissions according to our chosen protocols.

“Whichever way this development goes, we have to ensure we cover cradle-to-gate with these calculations otherwise it is not a true representation of the embedded carbon in that product.”

Electrification

While quantifying the carbon emissions of products is still relatively new in mining and smelting, Boliden has been using a carbon price in its internal technical studies and projections for close to a decade now.

It has been leveraging electrified sources of power for even longer. For instance, its Rönnskär copper smelter in Sweden has been using an electric oven since the 1990s.

More recently, the company has added trolley assist at Aitik and Kevitsa to this electrified base and employed ventilation on demand and heat exchangers at underground mines (the former) and smelters (the latter) to optimise its energy use.

It also has plans for underground trolley-battery haulage operation at its Rävliden (part of Kristineberg) project in Sweden through a project with Epiroc and ABB, while it is conducting a battery-electric vehicle loading trial at the Garpenberg mine, also in Sweden, with Sandvik. On the transport side, the company has recently teamed up with Scania to electrify part of its heavy-duty road transport in northern Sweden.

“It is one thing to review where we started; it is another to look at where we are going,” Staffas said on this topic. “We are planning to get better and better and go on to reduce our CO2 footprint further.”

On its way to achieving a goal of reducing its carbon dioxide intensity by 40% by 2030, the company is also looking at, among other levers, its use of explosives and cement: two key scope 3 inputs.

Staffas is confident Boliden can hit these ambitious goals by leveraging the innovation ecosystem within the Nordic region.

“For the CO2 journey we are now on, the Nordic mining cluster has and will continue to be very important,” he said. “We have big suppliers like Epiroc, Sandvik, Metso Outotec, ABB, Volvo and Scania on our doorstep. They have always worked closely with us, and we work closely with them on joint development projects.

“I think that is the main reason we are so far ahead of our competitors when it comes to our use of technology and innovation, and why we are confident in achieving our ambitious climate goals.”

Etteplan on board Epiroc’s Minetruck MT42 battery-trolley project

Finland-based engineering firm, Etteplan says it is collaborating with Epiroc to enable fossil free underground heavy transportation without interruptions and, more specifically, helping redesign its Minetruck MT42 Battery into an electric trolley system.

As part of a strategic partnership project that started in 2021, Etteplan’s offices in Finland and Sweden are providing what it says are crucial resources and expertise in the development, helping secure a timely progress of the project. It is providing technical expertise for battery technology, machine electrification, electrical design, system requirements and safety risk assessment.

Last year, Epiroc, for its part, announced a collaboration with ABB and Boliden to develop an all electric battery trolley truck system based on the MT42 Battery truck for underground mining, with the trio planning to demonstrate the system on a test track in the underground polymetallic Kristineberg mine in Sweden.

For Epiroc, the trolley truck project is one of the initiatives to meet its ambitious sustainability targets and forms part of its electrification journey, Etteplan said. The new battery-electric Minetruck MT42 trolley will still be equipped with a battery and, in addition, it will be recharged on the fly via an overhead catenary wire through a pantograph, similar to a trolley bus.

Anders Svensson, Director, Service Solutions at Etteplan’s Engineering Solutions, said: “Globally, electrification of equipment is a major trend in mining, where most vehicles are currently powered by diesel engines. Therefore, the industry needs new types of competences and skill sets that we are ready to cater for. Jointly developed procedures together with major manufacturers such as Epiroc ensure that we address strategically important electrification challenges in a competitive way.”

Etteplan has worked with Epiroc, previously part of Atlas Copco, for over 20 years, and the project aligns with Etteplan’s electrification vision while showcasing how it works closely with customers to enhance their battery performance and functionality in different industries.

ABB to deliver highest payload Koepe production hoist to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill

ABB says it has won a large order for its highest payload Koepe production hoist, associated infrastructure and safety systems from Australia-based mining company OZ Minerals.

The contract will help to ensure efficient processing performance and a long service life as part of an ongoing $400 million expansion at the Prominent Hill mine in South Australia.

The hoist, which will be designed and supplied by ABB, has a capacity of 39,400 kg and the strongest drivetrain that ABB has ever installed in Australia. ABB specialists will also supervise installation and commissioning.

OZ Minerals’ gold, silver and copper mine began operations in 2009 as an open-pit mine, but it is now an underground mine producing 4.5 Mt/y, moving to between 4.5 Mt/t and 5 Mt/y from 2022 via a trucking operation. The hoisting shaft provides access to mineral resources outside the current trucking mine plan that would have been uneconomical via a trucking operation from around 2033, ABB said.

Installing the Wira shaft will increase the annual underground mining rate, extend the mine life, reduce operating costs, lower emissions intensity, and reduce overall operational risk, according to OZ Minerals.

ABB has been awarded the last four mine hoists installed in Australia.

“The project is important for the country’s mining industry and metals security,” Stuart Cowie, Head of Process Industries, ABB Australia, said. “The local supply chain and workforce also relies on the mine and at ABB we’re enabling it to continue for several more years with increased safety, higher production rates and lower emissions.”

Once operational, the installation at Prominent Hill will have ABB Ability™ Safety Plus for hoists, a suite of mine hoist safety products that brings the highest level of personnel and equipment safety available to the mining industry, the company said. It is the first fully SIL 3 (Safety Integrity Level) certified suite of solutions for hoists, rigorously examined and certified by an independent global functional safety certifying body, and strictly developed in accordance with the International “Safety of Machinery” standard IEC62061, the company said.

The products include Safety Plus Hoist Monitor (SPHM), Safety Plus Hoist Protector (SPHP) and Safety Plus Brake System (SPBS) including Safety Brake Hydraulics (SBH).

ABB to help Savannah with move towards carbon-neutral lithium production at Barroso

ABB and Savannah Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore industrial automation and smart electrification solutions for the development of the Barroso lithium project in northern Portugal.

Under the early-stage agreement, ABB will apply its technical expertise to outline production control and process solutions for lithium concentrate production and integrated spodumene mining operations in line with Savannah’s target of zero emission operations by 2030.

Barroso is 143 km northeast of Porto and is Europe’s largest known resource of hard-rock spodumene. Savannah’s objective is to develop an operation producing premium, carbon-neutral lithium concentrate as a strategic raw material in Europe’s electric vehicle battery supply chain. Local electricity, produced mainly from hydro, solar and wind energy with zero carbon emissions, would be used to provide power to the project.

ABB says its technology solutions are well aligned and would maximise the use of the renewable energy and electrification to move the project towards carbon-neutral production.

Savannah is focused on responsible development of Barroso by using 238 individual measures to eliminate or mitigate environmental impacts. These measures will be included in the definitive feasibility study on the project, which Savannah is currently completing. This will also incorporate the actions from the current project decarbonisation study, which supports Savannah’s commitment to target a zero emission operation by 2030 or earlier.

Just last month, Savannah signed an agreement with ECOPROGRESSO − Quadrante Group − a Portuguese consultant in environmental, sustainability, climate change and resources management to lead on the creation of a decarbonisation strategy for Barroso.

“ABB is at the forefront of the automation and electrification that is required for our decarbonisation journey,” David Archer, CEO of Savannah, said. “We are pleased to have their expertise as we continue to execute on our decarbonisation strategy to build Europe’s first lithium spodumene production facility, as a critical supplier of low carbon raw materials for more sustainable batteries.”

Frederik Esterhuizen, Hub Manager Central and South Europe & Australia, Process Industries, ABB, said: “The development of Savannah’s Barroso lithium project provides us with an additional opportunity to showcase ABB’s leadership in industrial automation and smart electrification in Europe, applied towards key operations for the emerging European battery supply chain. This is another step as we continue to enable more sustainable and fossil fuel free industrial operations.”

ABB will also work towards binding agreements with Savannah in relation to the electrification, automation and digital solutions in the future.