Tag Archives: battery-electric vehicles

Epiroc partners with Capital on SmartROC D65 battery-electric drill trial at Sukari

Epiroc has partnered up with mining services company Capital Limited to field test the SmartROC D65 BE, a battery-electric surface drill rig for the mining and construction industry.

The battery-electric version of the SmartROC D65 surface drill rig will be tested at Capital Limited’s Sukari operation, in Egypt (owned by Centamin) during 2024. This mine already has a broad fleet of Epiroc drill rigs, according to the OEM, with Capital carrying out an earthmoving contract involving load, haul and associated drilling services.

Hakan Aytekin, Vice President, Epiroc Surface division, said: “This field test is an important step in our drive towards emission-free surface drill rigs. Capital Limited is always pushing the boundaries with new technologies, and that makes them an ideal partner for this field test.”

The field test is a major step in the mining service provider’s emission reduction and decarbonisation pathway, also representing its pledge to continue to provide a premium service to its clients, it says.

Peter Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Limited, said: “We are excited to be at the forefront of the transformation alongside Epiroc, bringing innovative electric drill rigs both to our fleet and to the broader market.

“Epiroc brings the supply of top-quality equipment, strong aftermarket support and competitive OEM financing options. Our close partnership ensures that we are appropriately prepared for the demand ahead of us.”

The autonomous SmartROC D65 MKII for production drilling applications became commercially available last year following testing in Australia, however this is the first public mention of a battery-electric version of the surface drill rig.

Epiroc has sustainability goals for 2030, which include halving the CO2 emissions from both operations and from sold products. The aim is to offer a full range of underground equipment in emission-free versions by 2025, and surface equipment by 2030.

Sandvik unveils second battery-electric concept surface drill rig

As decarbonisation efforts accelerate across the surface mining sector, Sandvik has unveiled its second battery-electric concept surface drill rig.

The battery-electric vehicle is the first in its size class, capable of drilling DTH holes up to 229 mm in diameter, and blending the autonomy of battery with the continuous endurance of power cable, Sandvik says.

Electric surface rigs have long depended solely on a tethered cable as the power source. With its second battery-electric surface concept, Sandvik says it is showcasing the latest technology advancements to push the potential of more sustainable surface drilling.

“With the industry shifting towards intelligent, autonomous and emission-free equipment, surface drill rigs need to be reinvented,” Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D, Surface Drilling Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “This new concept rig elevates electric surface drilling.”

The intelligent DTH rig’s battery pack provides power for up to one hour of drilling or up to seven hours of tramming. The battery is primarily intended for tramming and drilling individual holes while the bulk of a pattern is carried out via power from its 180-m tethered cable.

“The battery means greater freedom and flexibility and more efficient use of time, as the rig can drill immediately while the cable is being set up,” Laihanen said.

Sandvik designed the cable setup to be as effortless as possible. The cable tightens itself automatically according to the direction the rig is moved and is wound on a single layer, which enables a thinner, more manageable tether, it says. An operating voltage as high as 1,000 V also helps enable a lighter cable.

While Sandvik’s latest pioneering concept introduces battery-electric operation to a larger size class DTH drill, its subsystems and technologies are all tried and tested, mine-proven and energy-efficient, according to the company.

Sandvik introduced its smaller top hammer battery-electric concept surface drill rig in May 2022, developed to support more sustainable drilling in construction applications.

“Testing of the smaller concept with our construction customers has been very successful and produced valuable feedback,” Laihanen said. “We’ve learned a lot, and now it’s time to apply these learnings to mining, which has its own unique challenges.”

Sandvik will test its latest concept drill rig in real-world surface mining environments in close collaboration with mining customers.

“We need to identify the challenges, learn from them and share the knowledge,” Laihanen said. “The shift towards more sustainable mining will change the entire operating environment, and with the learnings from our latest concept rig, we can produce more value for our customers on their decarbonisation journey. We’re excited to write the next chapter in surface drilling together.”

Sandvik to build largest US mining facility to date in Elko, Nevada

To better serve its mining customers in the United States, Sandvik is investing more than $50 million in the company’s largest US facility to date, in Elko, Nevada.

Construction will begin before the end of this year and the new facility is expected to open in the March quarter of 2025. It will cover 14 acres (5.67 ha) and replace the company’s existing Elko office and separate warehouse.

The $51.4 million investment includes larger warehouse and workshop facilities. The new 31,250-sq.ft (2,900-sq.m) warehouse will nearly triple the size of the existing Elko warehouse, while the workshop will grow from 17,800 sq.ft (1,650 sq.m) to 25,000 sq.ft (2,325 sq.m). The two-story facility will also include 13,800 sq.ft (1,280 sq.m) of office and training space.

Designed with circularity, waste reduction and carbon footprint top of mind, the completely new facility will include dedicated infrastructure to support battery-electric vehicles, a training centre, welding areas, a painting booth and a simulator area. The facility will accommodate the current 85 employees with additional capacity for training and growth.

Victor Tapia, Vice President, Sales Area USA, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “This facility will be our largest of several branches serving the US mining market. We are creating a new, modern work environment for our people and, in turn, for our customers, who operate in rapidly changing market conditions with fast-evolving technology. The new building will facilitate increased collaboration opportunities and enable us to better serve our customers for years to come.”

Bortana-South32

South32 embarking on battery-electric vehicle trials at Cannington

South32’s greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction plans were established early on in the company’s life, with a long-term goal of achieving net zero operational GHG emissions by 2050 set in motion within a year of it coming into being.

It has since established a medium-term target to halve its operational GHG emissions by 2035, from its 2021 financial year baseline, with several initiatives already in play to achieve this aim.

The company’s approach to climate change is focused on:

  • Reshaping its portfolio to the base metals deemed critical in the transition to a low-carbon world;
  • Decarbonising its operations, with a focus on the four operations within its portfolio which account for the majority (93%) of its emissions profile (Hillside Aluminium, Mozal Aluminium, Worsley Alumina and Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC));
  • Understanding and responding to the potential physical impacts of climate change on its business to build operational resilience; and
  • Working with others to innovate and address shared challenges across industry, and to decarbonise the value chain.

The company has made headway on all four of these objectives since settling on this focus.

The portfolio reshaping is coming good with advancements in base metal projects and an acquisition of a significant stake in the Sierra Gorda operating mine in Chile.

In its 2023 financial year, the company commenced conversion of its first coal-fired boiler to natural gas as a transitional step at Worsley Alumina, with an estimated abatement of up to 205,000 t/y of CO2-e; converted 18% of pots at Hillside Aluminium to AP3XLE energy efficient technology and completed four of five EnPot trials; and commenced detailed design and execution planning for a commercial scale trial of CSIRO ventilation air methane mitigator technology at IMC.

And, when it comes to working with others to innovate and address shared challenges across industry, South32 can point to work it is carrying out under the auspices of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) – a group of companies aiming to accelerate progress towards a fully electrified, zero carbon, zero particulates mine.

As the lead in both the electrical infrastructure workstream, and energy supply and storage workstream within the consortium, South32 has agreed to take significant steps on behalf of the industry.

On the latter workstream, it recently scanned the market for long duration energy storage through an expression of interest, which received submissions from over 20 vendors, targeting seven members’ use cases.

“The knowledge gained informed a pre-concept study of thermal energy storage at Worsley Alumina and a related steam electrification study,” South32 said in its most recent Sustainable Development Report.

And, when it comes to the former, the company intends to build on its experience trialling the Cat R2900 XE diesel-electric loader at the Cannington operation in Queensland, with plans to trial three battery-electric light utility vehicles and a battery-electric integrated tool carrier, also at Cannington.

These trials, expected to run for at least 12 months and to prove the use case of electric vehicles for underground mining – including safety, reliability, range and capability requirements – will see three Bortana light utility vehicles deployed, two of which have been configured for heavy duties and one configured as a supervisory vehicle; with a Batt Mobile Equipment (BME) BIT120 integrated tool carrier also being put through its paces.

The Bortana EV is a battery-electric vehicle designed to handle the dynamic operating environment of underground mines. Designed and developed in Australia, it uses the chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise. It is designed to tackle safety and health concerns by reducing emissions, heat and maintenance.

The BIT120, meanwhile, is BME’s second generation 20-t Integrated Tool Carrier, which combines an optimal production loader based on a Volvo L120F platform that has been converted to operate with zero diesel emissions, minimal noise, reduced vibrations and low heat output.

Charging infrastructure for all four pieces of equipment has already been installed at Cannington, and there are expectations the learnings from these trials will be factored into the plans at the Hermosa project in Arizona, USA – a project the company has already mooted could use battery-electric underground equipment.

Alongside this work, South32 continues to fund ongoing developments with BluVein1, a system that allows concurrent dynamic powering and charging of electric vehicles suited to the small-scale underground truck configurations, providing an alternative to static charging or fast charging technology.

Cat R2900 XE

Cat R2900 XE diesel-electric LHDs brought into Gold Fields net zero plan

As part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions from its operations and achieve a ‘net zero’ status by 2050, Gold Fields is investing in three Caterpillar R2900 XE diesel-electric loaders for its underground mines in Western Australia.

The gold miner’s ESG strategy, launched in December 2021, was at the same time embedded as one of three pillars in the company’s strategy. Gold Fields has demonstrated this focus over the last few years, especially when it comes to its efforts to decarbonise its mining operations.

In addition to constructing and commissioning several solar plants, renewable microgrids and low-carbon gas turbines across some of its operations in South Africa and Australia, Gold Fields has been at the forefront of decarbonising the load and haul part of the underground mining cycle.

In 2021, Gold Fields started trialling a Sandvik LH518B 18 t battery-electric underground LHD, in addition to a 50-t-payload battery-electric Z50 truck, also from Sandvik. The machines were put through their paces at the Hamlet North mine, part of the St Ives operation, near Kambalda in Western Australia. The results of these trials were shared with members of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC).

Rob Derries, Unit Manager: Innovation & Technology at Gold Fields Australia, says the results from testing the loader and truck at St Ives have shown the need for an alternative to assist the battery swap functionality for its local underground mines.

“The depth of our mines and the resultant ramp inclines indicate that a battery swap system alone will be a challenge from an infrastructure or financial perspective when rolling out on a larger fleet-wide basis,” he told IM.

Alongside this work, Gold Fields has trialled a hybrid diesel-electric drive Komatsu WX22H (formerly the Joy 22HD), which uses a Kinetic Energy Storage System to capture and reuse braking energy from each of the four wheels, reducing fuel burn and boosting productivity, according to the OEM and Gold Fields.

In 2021, Gold Fields started trialling a Sandvik LH518B 18 t battery-electric underground LHD

Now, the company has committed to bringing three Caterpillar R2900 XEs into two of its underground mining operations, according to Derries.

Built on the platform of Caterpillar’s most popular underground loader, the R2900G, this LHD features a switch reluctance electric drive system alongside a Cat C15 diesel engine, which offers up to 335 kW of power. The OEM says the machine comes with about 30% increased fuel efficiency compared with the R2900G, with its lower engine revolutions per minute resulting in reduced fuel burn, heat, noise, vibration and exhaust emissions.

Derries said Gold Fields does not consider the R2900 XE a “hybrid” machine given it has no battery or energy storage component on board, but stressed that it still offers the reduced fuel burn and productivity advantages the company is looking for as part of its modernisation strategy.

“From the field-follow trial reports we have seen, it can produce a 35% fuel burn reduction,” he said. “This is why we consider it to be part of our plan to transition our operations to zero emissions, just like the Epiroc machine we are working on.”

Last year, Gold Fields entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc to develop and test a proof of concept for the 65-t class Minetruck MT65 E-Drive with the aim of having a prototype diesel-electric truck running at the miner’s Granny Smith mine, near Laverton in Western Australia, in late 2024.

Derries says the company is also continuing discussions with all OEM partners on potential battery-electric vehicle deployments at its Australian underground mines, explaining that variations on trolley infrastructure, battery charging and battery swapping were being evaluated.

EMC collaboration builds confidence

The field-follow trials Derries references were integral to Gold Fields making the investment in the Caterpillar diesel-electric vehicles.

“In Australia, there were four field-follow units that Cat sent out, all of which went to EMC member operators,” he said. “The feedback and learnings that came back from these trials, which was shared internally within the consortium, provided the confidence we needed to make the investment decision.”

The EMC is a growing group of leading mining and service companies, all of whom are driven by the imperative to accelerate progress towards the fully electrified zero CO2 and zero particulates mine. In the short time since establishment, the consortium’s membership has grown almost two-fold with over 40 equipment trials in 15 different locations mobilised.

Outside of these Caterpillar R2900 XE field follow units, Westgold Resources took delivery of the first commercial R2900 XE at its Midwest operations in Western Australia, as part of an agreement with WesTrac. The mining company has since agreed to purchase another six of the diesel-electric vehicles.

A separate R2900 XE is due to be delivered to another mining operation in Australia later this year, IM understands.

Derries says Gold Fields has felt the benefits of signing up to the EMC.

“The EMC is a great platform for operators like us to gather information without having to trial everything out there,” he said. “Like the companies that shared their data from the R2900 XE field-follow trials, we shared the learnings from our Sandvik trials – not just our operational performance data.

“We were then able to do a cross check between our battery-electric trial data and the field-follow trials from the Caterpillar machines, giving us the confidence to invest in the three LHDs.”

Derries says the new units are expected to arrive at its operations in the next 12 months.

HydraGEN, Railveyor, BluVein, BEVs, hybrid vehicles being assessed by Evolution

Evolution Mining is considering the application of a number of technologies to displace diesel in its mining fleet, with its latest sustainability report highlighting several short to medium-term and longer-term solutions currently being assessed and considered by the gold-focused miner.

Evolution has set a target of reducing its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2030, with plans to reach net zero emissions in these two categories by 2050.

Over the course of its 2023 financial year, Evolution says it achieved an 11.2% reduction in absolute emissions compared with its FY 2020 baseline; maintained a robust direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) accounting program, including resetting its emissions baseline; conducted a CO2 abatement cost review focusing on marginal abatement cost curves; externally validated modelling of emissions data including all input modelling; and developed and integrated internal emissions modelling tools to assess the impact of acquisitions and projects on its net zero performance and FY 2020 baseline.

It also completed an energy audit and decarbonisation roadmap for Mungari, conducted an independent audit of Scope 3 emissions, and developed and implemented its Renewable Sourcing Strategy, resulting in the Cowal (mine pictured above) power purchase agreement with AGL Energy Limited.

Evolution says the application of technologies to displace diesel in its mine fleet represents a complex decarbonisation challenge, hence the reason it is evaluating several options. It has been collaborating with partners as well as its supply and value chain partners to identify emissions reduction opportunities, including membership with the Electric Mine Consortium and Sustainability Advantage, the latter being a New South Wales Government scheme looking to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices in the state.

Among the solutions Evolution is considering – ones it categorises as “technologically mature – are the HydraGEN carbon emissions reduction device, the all-electric Railveyor material haulage method, BluVein’s dynamic charging technology, and hybrid vehicles.

Evolution is already part of the consortium of funding members to fast-track the BluVeinXL project, looking at powering heavy-duty mining fleets with up to 250 t payloads through dynamic fast-charging technologies.

The company said in the report that it was also exploring “technologies that have high potential but have limitations at present due to their practical application within Evolution operating mines and their commercial competitiveness”. One example that comes under this category is battery-electric vehicles, which Evolution has experience of thanks to its use of both battery-electric loaders and utility vehicles at its Red Lake operations in Canada.

An asset that could potentially feature some of these technologies under consideration is the Mungari mine, in Western Australia, which is undergoing an expansion to boost output to 4.2 Mt/y, from 2 Mt/y.

In the latest report, Evolution said: “The Mungari mine expansion will result in a near-term increase in emissions due to an interim reliance upon diesel to power remote assets. However, Evolution is exploring potential opportunities to avoid diesel use and mitigate associated emissions through considerations such as hydrogen power and electrified Railveyor.”

DavidRea-Tucson-ElectricMine2023

Cat R1700 XE battery-electric LHD completes the test at Glencore Nickel Rim South

The first field follow trial of Caterpillar’s R1700 XE battery-electric loader has been deemed a success by one Glencore trial participant, with the machine anticipated to surpass the productivity performance of the equivalent diesel LHD running at Glencore’s Nickel Rim South mine, in Sudbury, Canada.

Speaking in a video, Paul Kant, Glencore’s Maintenance General Foreman at the mine, said the battery-electric loader was likely to outperform the diesel-powered Cat® R1700G it was being benchmarked against at the operation over the trial period.

The mine has been using the machine, a 15-t payload loader, as part of ongoing plans to incorporate new technology at its Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations. This includes the development of an all-electric equipment fleet at the Onaping Depth project.

The Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations have played a significant role in the development of the R1700 XE, hosting a proof-of-concept trial of a battery-electric R1300 LHD at one of the mines where the machine ran in trials alongside its diesel equivalent. Caterpillar used the insight gained from this testing to develop the commercial R1700 XE.

The R1700 XE is rated with a 24,190 kg lift and tilt breakout, and, according to Caterpillar, features a battery-electric design that delivers superior productivity in underground applications with the benefits of minimal heat and no engine exhaust emissions. It offers an 18 km/h top speed.

It is designed to work with the Cat MEC500 Mobile Equipment Charger, a 1,656 kg (2,037 kg with optional skid) portable charger that, Caterpillar says, eliminates the need for regular battery handling and swapping, allowing for more efficient charging and production. The MEC500 offers a 500 kW capability at a range of 300-1,000 V and up to 700 Amps. The adjustable output can be used to trickle charge or quickly charge the R1700 XE – with a single unit delivering a full charge to the R1700 XE in less than 30 minutes or two units in parallel achieving this in less than 20 minutes.

The R1700 XE in Sudbury, working alongside either one or two MEC500s, has clocked more than 11,000 machine hours. During initial test operations, the customer indicated a circa-320,000 kg reduction of CO2 emissions and displayed a more than 10% improvement in speed on grade.

According to Glencore, the R1700 XEs Caterpillar has put out in the field to date have also exhibited lower energy consumption compared with the diesel equivalent – more than 10%, in fact

Speaking at The Electric Mine 2023 conference in Tucson, Arizona, in May, David Rea, VP and General Manager, Caterpillar Inc (pictured at the top), said of the machine: “We’re delivering for our customers improvements in safety, cost, productivity and sustainability.”

Machine availability in these field-follow trials has been helped by an up to 150-minute run time between charges and an average 18.5-minute charge rate with the dual chargers.

According to Glencore, the machines Caterpillar has put out in the field to date have also exhibited lower energy consumption compared with the diesel equivalent – more than 10%, in fact. And, while trials to date have all been in manual mode, Rea said the R1700 XE units in the field could be equipped for teleremote operation and were also “factory ready” for Caterpillar’s fully autonomous loading system.

Operations are being facilitated thanks to some “800 channels of machine data” flowing off the machines to those supporting the loaders, Rea said. This has allowed personnel from Caterpillar and Cat dealers to diagnose problems in the field and optimise the machine’s charging and operating strategies.

While Caterpillar continues to clock up the operating machine hours for its R1700 XE, it is also in the process of developing its first battery-electric truck.

“We’re not just stopping at the loader; we also need a truck to go alongside that loader,” Rea said in Tucson, adding that this would be a three-pass match for the R1700 XE – therefore, a truck boasting at least a 45-t payload.

Rea confirmed the new truck would be charged by the MEC500, but the company was working on both a fast charge and battery swap option for the vehicle.

“Our alliance with Newmont is leading the development of this truck,” Rea said, referencing a strategic alliance Caterpillar and Newmont announced in 2021 to deliver “26 first-of-a-kind battery-electric autonomous vehicles in both an underground and open pit operation by 2027”.

This agreement involves the introduction of these vehicles to Cripple Creek and Victor (open pit) and Tanami (underground) in USA and Australia, respectively.

“The first deployment of this [battery-electric] truck will be at Newmont Tanami,” Rea confirmed at the event.

Record Rokion battery-electric vehicle order set for Torex Gold’s Media Luna

Torex Gold’s Media Luna project in Mexico has been behind a surge of battery-electric vehicle contract activity of late, with the latest recipient being Saskatoon-based Rokion.

The gold mining company has ordered a 28-strong fleet of BEVs from Rokion, set to start being delivered at the back end of the year.

These vehicles will be crucial in providing zero emission and effective personnel transport and production support functions at the project, which is set to extend the life of mine of its El Limón Guajes (ELG) Complex through at least 2033.

Media Luna is located 7 km south of the existing ELG Complex comprised of the El Limón, Guajes and El Limón Sur open pits, El Limón Guajes underground mine, plus the processing plant and related infrastructure. It is an underground deposit primarily containing gold, copper and silver mineralisation, separated from the ELG Complex by the Balsas River.

The underground mine is designed for an average production capacity of 7,500 t/d, predominately using a mining method of longhole stoping with paste backfill, supplemented by mechanised cut and fill stoping where appropriate. It will be a fully mechanised operation with the primary access to the mine via the Guajes Tunnel, which, itself, will have a length of approximately 6.5 km, creating an underground connection between the ELG Complex and the Media Luna mine. The ELG site will continue to serve as the base of mine operations, with all production levels accessible from the internal mine ramp.

Torex expects to bring Media Luna into commercial production in early 2025, ramping up to 7,500 t/d by 2027 and creating one of Mexico’s largest underground mines. It contains reserves of approximately 2.1 Moz gold, 18.9 Moz silver and 444 Mlb copper.

As of March 31, 2023, physical progress on the project was approximately 24%, according to Torex, with detailed engineering, procurement activities, underground development and surface construction advancing. The project continued to track to overall schedule and budget, the company noted.

Equipment deliveries will be key in advancing the project in line with the schedule and, earlier this year, both Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and MacLean announced sizeable equipment orders – both battery- and diesel-powered – related to the mine’s development and production phases.

Now, IM can reveal that Torex has also sealed an agreement with Rokion.

Rokion are to supply 27 of its battery-powered utility trucks to the operation along with one R700 forklift – the latter representing the company’s first order for a battery-powered forklift.

According to Rokion, these trucks can navigate mine sites with 20% grade at a full gross vehicle weight and full speed while traveling more than 70 km per charge. This is more than enough to get through a full shift without charging. And, while availability is a key selling point, Rokion says its battery-powered vehicles have been designed for simple and easy maintenance. The modularity of the components are “ideal for remote mining locations where the priority is to have dedicated service personnel with expertise in production mining equipment”.

When it comes to vehicle specifics, Rokion outlined that Torex would receive 10 R200 battery-powered trucks – configured to carry up to five passengers – two R200 trucks set up as two-passenger surveyor utility vehicles, two R200 two-person “6×6 Surveyor” utility vehicles and four R200 two-person “6×6 Electrician” utility vehicles. This would be complemented by seven R400 vehicles fitted out to carry 12 passengers – which have four-wheel steering to greatly improve manouevrability, according to Rokion – and two R400s equipped for three passengers able to carry out mechanic duties.

The Rokion order from Torex for Media Luna includes 16 of the company’s R200 battery-electric vehicles

Gertjan Bekkers, Vice-President, Mines Technical Services with Torex, said: “Our light-vehicle fleet will be used to drive fairly significant distances between our work sites on every shift, so the flexibility and range of these vehicles were key considerations for Torex during the procurement phase. The tunnel connecting Media Luna with ELG is like our horizontal shaft, connecting to the internal ramp of the Media Luna mine. Of course, we’ve also carefully considered equipment reliability and we were particularly impressed by the enhancements that Rokion has made to their portfolio since entering the underground hard-rock mining market.”

Kipp Sakundiak, CEO of Rokion, said the two companies have struck up a very important partnership over the last year or so when the engagement began.

“After getting to know the team at Torex, we are excited about the opportunities,” he told IM. “It is a good thing when you have a vendor-supplier relationship whereby both companies share similar values.”

Deliveries of the vehicles will start in October, with the full fleet set to be in place in 2025, according to Sakundiak.

Epiroc to use SSAB’s new fossil carbon emission-free recycled steel for BEVs

Epiroc has become the first company in the mining industry to sign a delivery agreement with Swedish steelmaker SSAB for SSAB Zero™, a product made of recycled steel and produced with fossil-free electricity and biogas.

The steel will be used in Epiroc’s battery-electric range of underground mine trucks and loaders, set to be introduced as soon as the September quarter of 2023.

Sami Niiranen, President of Epiroc’s Underground division, said: “We are very excited to utilise SSAB’s pioneering low-carbon solutions. This is one of many ways that we are accelerating the transformation of the mining industry – while also helping our customers to reach their sustainability goals.”

SSAB Zero will be used in the production of Epiroc’s Smart and Green series of battery-electric mine trucks and loaders, enabling, it says, zero-emission underground operations. The partnership with SSAB is part of Epiroc’s long-term commitment to produce the world’s greenest machines and to halve CO2e emissions by 50% by 2030 compared with 2019, as well as SSAB’s aim to help create fossil-free value chains.

Thomas Hörnfeldt, Head of Sustainable Business at SSAB, said: “SSAB Zero broadens our zero emission portfolio and strengthens the business offering, allowing us to bring zero-emission steel to our customers already this year,. There is a large demand for this kind of steel; it is satisfying to have such an offer in place.”

Epiroc has now signed a delivery agreement for both of SSAB’s zero-emission steel types: SSAB Zero, based on recycled steel, and SSAB Fossil-free™, based on iron ore without fossil fuels. At the end of 2022, Epiroc showcased the world’s first underground mine truck made using fossil-free steel from SSAB, which is set to be available on a commercial scale during 2026.

SSAB Zero has zero fossil carbon emission (less than 0.05 kg CO2e emissions per kg steel in Scope 1 and 2 calculations) in operations, including purchased energy and transportation. The quality and properties of SSAB Zero will be equal to the steel currently used in Epiroc’s products, Epiroc says.

MacLean ready to highlight growing African presence at Mining Indaba

A MacLean EV Series™ carrier fitted with a third-party emulsion charging plant is part of the company’s expanded presence at this year’s edition of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

MacLean Africa will be showcasing this latest battery-electric mining vehicle (BEV) offering outside the CTICC in front of the Cullinan Hotel during the event, which runs from February 7-10.

The Sudbury-based company has had an established, in-country presence in South Africa since 2001. This was the company’s first ever international branch and, since that time, the local sales and support team has grown in line with the expansion of the MacLean fleet deployment across the continent. The company now supports MacLean mining vehicles at customer operations across South Africa, as well as in Namibia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali.

MacLean Africa General Manager, John-Paul Theunissen, said: “Our message to the African mining community at Indaba is simple and I hope, resonant – MacLean is manufacturing and supporting mining equipment that is custom designed for underground mining on this continent, supported by an in-country team of skilled engineers, product managers, field service technicians, and repair and rebuild mechanics. We are here for the long haul; we have the critical mass of talent and parts and manufacturing capacity and we have your full fleet of production support mining vehicles, ready to get to work.”

MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, added: “I’m excited by what MacLean Africa has already done in terms of building out the MacLean fleet footprint across Africa and I’m even more excited by what the future holds for us in this crucial mining region. We can walk with customers as they explore options for the rollout of a battery-electric, automated, and data-rich mobile fleet that will drive the ‘no boots on the ground’ mining of the 21st century. We have it all – the present and the future of underground mining mobile equipment, technology, and services. We are above ground where your fleet is underground in Africa.”

This year is an important one for MacLean as it marks the company’s 50th year of operations. What started out as a niche, custom equipment solutions provider for the Canadian industry in the 1970s has evolved to what it now claims is now the world’s largest Canada-based manufacturer of underground mining vehicles, with a worldwide staffing contingent that surpasses 1,000 employees across four continents.