One of Australia’s leading contract miners, Macmahon, says it is considering the use of the battery-electric Bortana EV model for its greater underground operations in the future.
The company made the admission after announcing the arrival of two Agrale Marruá AM200 light utility vehicles for its underground mining contracts (pictured). One of these – the dual cab version – is already in use and on site at BHP’s Leinster nickel operation in Western Australia.
Originally built for the Brazilian army, Macmahon has previously trialled these Tier 4 diesel engine utility vehicles, saying they are equipped to deal with what the underground mining environment throws at them.
“With the body, doors and tray all made from galvanised steel, along with a heavy-duty chassis, these corrosion-resistant vehicles are built to withstand the harsh underground environment,” it said.
Macmahon’s previous vehicles had a lifespan of 3-5 years, and it is expecting an operating life of up to six years minimum with Marrua, predicting these AM200s could last 8-10 years.
“This means, over time, we will have reduced maintenance and run cost due to the heavy-duty driveline components,” it said.
The company added: “Looking to the future, we’re also considering the electric Bortana EV model for our greater underground operations.”
The Bortana EV, which has a chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise, has been trialled all over Australia. This includes a stint at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine, in Victoria; a test at Mincor’s Long nickel mine, in Western Australia; and a try-out at IGO’s Nova operation, also in Western Australia.