An articulated underground truck with a 32.6 t capacity is the next vehicle Epiroc is looking to provide a battery-electric conversion kit for, the OEM confirmed at its Capital Markets Day today.
The Minetruck MT436B set for an electrification conversion is suitable for medium to large underground operations, according to the company.
Epiroc has, to this point, provided battery-electric conversion kits for two of its underground loaders. The first up in its conversion project was the diesel-powered Scooptram ST1030 loader, followed by the ST14 LHD – which Epiroc already provides a new battery-electric option for.
Jess Kindler, President Parts & Services division, told attendees at the CMD that several machines were currently under conversion. At least two converted diesel ST1030s are due to go to Evolution Mining’s Red Lake gold operation in Ontario, Canada, as part of the company’s first order for the solution.
Epiroc’s Anders Johansson, Product Line Manager – Midlife services and Custom Engineered Solutions, told IM last month that more than one ST14 unit had been converted using another newly developed conversion kit, with one machine undergoing testing.
Both converted model types have been developed at the same Epiroc location in Lively, Ontario, according to Johannsson, where there is plenty of highly experienced Midlife services rebuild project experts. The battery conversion specialists, FVT, which Epiroc recently acquired, is also located close by.
Neither of Epiroc’s two main underground mining equipment competitors have a formal battery conversion offering, but Kindler was enthusiastic about the potential market uptake of these solutions.
“I believe we have a truly special window of opportunity here over the next few years,” he said. “As I briefly mentioned, the average lifespan for an underground piece of equipment is four-to-seven-years – give or take – and, by offering conversions, we can increase the speed of our customers taking on battery technology and we can also speed up the rollout of our batteries to the market.”
He added: “We’ll roll out more and models and, to be honest, there is nothing standing in the way of us doing conversions on other OEMs equipment, as well. We have the knowledge to do it.”