Tag Archives: battery-electric vehicles

Foran Mining assembles FS team for ‘world first’ carbon neutral copper mine project

Foran Mining says it has bolstered the design team for its ongoing definitive feasibility study at the McIlvenna Bay project, in Saskatchewan, Canada, providing the company with the technical expertise to execute on its strategy of building the world’s first copper mine designed to be “carbon neutral” from day one of production.

The advisors are anticipated to employ a range of technologies and initiatives in the design of the mine and processing facilities to materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of the operations.

Foran says its due diligence to date has highlighted the potentially superior returns achievable through implementing this strategy, while the use of battery-electric vehicles will also be safer for employees, reducing risk of injury and physical stressors, such as vibration and noise.

The FS team includes experts from:

  • Stantec – mine design and engineering;
  • Knight Piésold Ltd – tailings storage facility design;
  • Halyard Inc – process plant design;
  • Micon International Limited – resource estimate;
  • Base Metallurgical Laboratories Ltd – metallurgical testing;
  • Canada North Environmental Services Ltd – environmental; and
  • Synergy Enterprises – sustainability and carbon accounting

Dan Myerson, Executive Chair of Foran, said: “The appointment of these world-class environmental and engineering specialists reflects our ambition to develop a technically and economically compelling solution to the environmental and social challenges which have been traditionally associated with the sector. We are therefore thrilled that professionals of this calibre have agreed to support us on this journey.”

He added: “Together, we intend to ensure that our operations emit net zero greenhouse gases and set new safety benchmarks for the industry, while also ensuring that the local community and the broader Canadian population benefit from our operations. The responsible production of copper and zinc is critical as the world transitions to a low carbon future; these metals are used in the production of renewable energy assets and electronic industries, for example. We look forward to providing more updates, in relation to our infill and expansion drilling, as well as announcing more detailed plans about how we will be putting our ambitions into practice.”

The 2020 prefeasibility study on McIlvenna Bay envisaged a 3,600 t/d underground operation with on‐site crushing and mineral processing facilities, a paste plant and filtered tailings storage facility. It considered a nine-year life of mine and scheduled treatment of the full reserve of 11.34 Mt grading 4.01% Zn, 1.14% Cu, 0.54 g/t Au and 20.97 g/t Ag. It also included plans for McIlvenna Bay to be an early adopter of battery-electric haul trucks.

Foran recently commenced its largest drill program ever (pictured), with over 30,000 m of infill and expansion drilling in the deposit. This has been designed to maximise the conversion of the current inferred resource to the indicated resource category, which can then be interrogated for inclusion in the updated reserve statement.

Foran says the feasibility study will, among other things, look to:

  • Further optimise and detail the McIlvenna Bay project engineering, including the estimation of reserves, mine design, stope sequence, development and production schedules;
  • Refine power and equipment requirements to support the company’s commitment to carbon neutral operations;
  • Update and detail the design and feasibility of the tailings desulphurisation process, dry stack storage facility and cemented paste backfill processes;
  • Provide detailed construction scheduling, including optimisations that would arise from pre-fabrication and/or modular (off-site) construction to the greatest extent possible;
  • Identify further mine optimisation to increase productivity and reduce operational expenditures; and
  • Consider equipment usage and activities where greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated, reduced or offset to ensure that McIlvenna Bay is a carbon neutral operation.

Barminco set for Normet battery-electric Charmec trial at IGO’s Nova operation

Normet’s Charmec MC 605 VE Smart Drive battery-powered emulsion charger is continuing its tour of Australia, with Barminco signing up to trial the machine for three months at the Independence Group-owned Nova nickel-copper-cobalt underground mine in Western Australia.

Barminco, a Perenti company, says the trial is part of its commitment to improving performance and driving sustainability initiatives across its business. It represents the contractor’s first heavy-duty battery electric vehicle (BEV) trial, coming on top of the short trial it conducted with Safescape’s Bortana light electric vehicle, also at Nova.

The MC605 VE Smart Drive will be a direct replacement for the diesel-powered MC605 D Barminco uses at its underground client sites, with the battery-electric trial likely involving a mix of production and development operations.

“Along with the maintenance and cost benefits of using battery-electric equipment underground, it will also provide an improved work environment for our people,” Barminco said.

OZ Minerals, in October, became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SD. The charging unit, which arrived at the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia, was also put through a three-month trial.

The work at Carrapateena involved the charging of 30 faces – all of which were charged without any major problems – with tramming times of 5-15 minutes and tramming distances of 1-3.5 km from the explosives warehouse to the face and back, according to Normet. The process saw 4.5 m long cuts and an average of 65 holes, with 300-400 kg of emulsion loaded per cut.

The trial involved the use of an on-board 1.5 t Emulsion Charging Module system provided by Normet and the application of Downer Blasting Services’ HEAT® 9000 ammonium nitrate emulsion.

The unit carried out charging with and without a trailing cable plugged into the mine site’s electricity infrastructure and a SmartDrive CT40 DC-charging trolley was also employed.

Reflecting on the Carrapateena trial, Normet said: “SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture proved its ability for emulsion charging as this process is extremely energy efficient and enables independent operations even without a trailing cable plugged in.

“Silent slope performance as well as exhaust-, heat- and noise-free charging operations made a real impression on all users of the SD Charmec.”

Back in 2019, Normet made history with the MC 605 VE Smart Drive by demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in an underground production environment for the first time in Europe at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland.

ZED70 Ti battery-electric vehicle takes trip underground at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti has become one of the first Australia-made street legal light electric vehicles to enter an underground mine after making a trip into the Tjati Decline at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia.

The vehicle made the trip in January and, according to OZ Minerals, managed over four complete round trips ‒ from the surface to the bottom of the mine and back ‒ without requiring a plug-in charge.

OZ Minerals said: “A big shout out to Zero Automotive for their hard work in developing such a great vehicle and commissioning it for underground use within two days!”

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti uses LTO chemistry and comes equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena, OZ Minerals previously said.

OZ Minerals previously tested a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle on site at Carrapateena.

In June 2020, it also outlined a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena that included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

MacLean reinforces shotcrete ops with new EV sprayer, transmixer

MacLean Engineering has become renowned for its battery-electric equipment in the last four-to-five years, having announced its electrified plans at MINExpo 2016, and steadily upped its offering in line with industry demand.

Yet, it is not the only company in its field backing battery-powered production support developments underground.

Recognising the same trend that led to MacLean initiating its EV Series program in 2015, its competitors have also looked to electrify their own diesel-powered units.

Few of them to this point have clocked up the same amount of operating hours on battery that MacLean can boast; even fewer of them have gone beyond the limits of their diesel-powered predecessors with the adoption of new opex-enhancing technology and safety additions.

The company is now leveraging this experience with the launch of a new shotcrete-transmixer combination that, MacLean says, will make it the only OEM able to offer fully electrified, articulated shotcrete operations purpose-designed for underground mining applications.

Jonathan Lavallee, Product Manager – Shotcrete Equipment, got IM up to speed with developments.

“The SS5 battery-electric shotcrete sprayer is now mechanically complete,” he said ahead of the launch today. “We’ve tested it at our underground test mine and it has exceeded our expectations.”

Filling out an offering of shotcrete sprayers that includes the diesel-powered SS2 and SS3 machines, the battery-powered SS5 shotcrete unit is close to 7 ft (2.13 m) wide and is the first-ever MacLean sprayer to have a forward-facing cab for a better view of shotcreting operations from inside the cab.

In addition to a better view, the shift from mid-ship to forward-facing cab has also aided with placing the batteries and the EV components on the rear side of the machine to ensure rebound dust and particulates from shotcrete operations are not getting inside the EV components, Lavallee said.

Alongside this machine will be the 2.59-m-wide battery-powered TM3 concrete transmixer, which is based on a diesel-equivalent machine already on the market and will serve the SS5’s shotcrete needs.

Like all of MacLean’s EV Series machines, the SS5 sprayer will be able to tram on battery and connect to the power infrastructure within the mine for spraying.

This might not be all, according to Lavallee.

“Depending on the size of your heading, the battery re-generation capability on site and the air quality/quantity, there could be an option to shoot on pure battery,” he said.

Testing at the MacLean Research and Training Facility in Sudbury saw the prototype machine complete two full mixer trucks worth of shotcrete – roughly 12 cu.m – while still having enough battery power remaining to conduct a thorough wash down and washout of the equipment and tram to the nearest point of recharge, according to Lavallee.

While there was no on-board compressor fitted to this prototype – with the machine using mine air at the test facility – Lavallee is confident the commercial unit will provide the option of spraying off battery for parts of a mine where power services have not yet been established.

“Depending on the size of your heading, the battery re-generation capability on site and the air quality/quantity, there could be an option to shoot on pure battery [with the SS5],” Jonathan Lavallee says
There is more to the SS5 than battery-powered operation alone, which Lavallee, a man with shotcrete experience at Oyu Tolgoi, Grasberg, Outotec and GCP Applied Technologies, is keen to talk up.

Fitted with a “first of its kind” automatic accelerator dosing system and the company’s Auto Doser platform, Lavallee says the machine will allow operations to save money on shotcrete consumption, increase the quality of material going onto the walls and, most importantly, create a safer environment for miners.

“My mission has always been to ensure the product is 100% quality and reacts and solidifies as it is supposed to without causing any falls or damage to personnel or equipment,” he said.

Other than the new accelerator, the system will use sophisticated scanning technology for shotcrete thickness monitoring.

“That will, again, enable you to enhance the quality of the material going onto the drifts and headings,” Lavallee said. “It will also eventually help with cost reductions through reducing overshooting.”

These elements, combined, could have a significant impact on the operating cost associated with the SS5, with Lavallee hinting at 30-60% savings from the dosing system, and plus-20% savings in shotcrete consumption with the use of the accelerator and real-time scanning technology.

The Australia market will be the first to test out the new sprayer, with a unit set to be delivered to a customer site in the June quarter. Ahead of this, it is heading to the company’s branch in Elko, Nevada, for additional testing.

This unit will also be equipped with a newer type of battery MacLean is currently putting through its paces, in addition to an in-development compressor.

MacLean, again, appears to have not only electrified its mining equipment niche; but reinforced it with all the technology smarts forward-thinking miners are after.

Mayhew Performance wins Americas distribution rights to ABI Disconnect

Mayhew Performance and G&L Innovation LLC have announced a partnership for the exclusive distribution rights for the ABI (Automatic Battery Interrupter) Disconnect product in Canada, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

The ABI Disconnect serves two main purposes:

  • Protecting the battery in the event of a deployment of the fire suppression system, it automatically isolates and disconnects the batteries; and
  • When the ABI detects inactivity, it removes the load and isolates the batteries prolonging the life of the batteries.

Gerald Laughter, President & CEO, G&L Innovation, said: “ABI saves lives, property, production and the environment one box at a time. We are truly excited to partner with a global leader and partner like Mayhew Performance who specialises in battery-electric equipment and underground mining.”

Mike Mayhew, Chairman of Mayhew Performance, said: “We are extremely excited to partner with G&L Innovation LLC and implement the ABI Disconnect in our underground mines around the world to showcase a unique and innovative approach to battery safety for underground mining equipment. The ABI Disconnect is adaptable to diesel or battery-electric vehicle equipment for safe operations and managing risk and safety for operators with a simple installation, as a low-cost solution.”

MacLean partners with Cambrian College to accelerate BEV maintenance training

Canada’s MacLean Engineering is partnering with Sudbury’s Cambrian College to support skills and technology development for the “electric, automated, and digitalised mine of today and tomorrow”.

The MacLean Research and Training Facility in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, is set to host the practical component of Cambrian’s Industrial Battery Electric Vehicle Maintenance Course. Cambrian’s curriculum, developed in part with MacLean technical input, is designed for Heavy Duty technicians currently working in the mining sector.

In addition to delivering corporate training courses, Cambrian’s Centre for Smart Mining is also the only federally recognised Technology Access Centre specific to the mining technology sector, with funding to support technology development and acceleration, MacLean says. As such, the Cambrian-MacLean strategic skills and technology partnership will focus both on the training of heavy duty mechanics to support battery electric vehicle (BEV) fleets, as well as supporting the development of the next generation of mechatronics workers in the mining industry by providing Cambrian students with the opportunity to work directly with the MacLean Advanced Vehicle Technology team based out of the company’s Research and Training Facility.

Stella Holloway, General Manager for Northern Ontario Operations at MacLean, said: “Practical training for BEV mechanics and applied research opportunities for the next generation of mechatronics professionals to facilitate the adoption of on-vehicle technology – these are concrete examples of MacLean leveraging its test decline in Greater Sudbury to make a difference in the industry.

“This is a chance for us to walk the talk when it comes to ramping up our research and training facility to actively support long-term, positive change in mining and I’m thrilled that we’re doing this in partnership with Cambrian.”

Stephen Gravel, Manager of Cambrian’s Centre for Smart Mining, added: “Successful innovation depends on great collaboration, and I think this partnership with MacLean is a perfect example. No single educational institution or company can drive change entirely on its own, but rather it’s a spirit of cooperation that will help us drive innovation in mining of the 21st century and that’s why I’m confident we’ll succeed.”

OZ Minerals on the road to electrifying Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals’ electrification transformation at its Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia has kicked into another gear with a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle arriving on site.

The company has made its electrification and sustainability aspirations clear to stakeholders, confirming it is working towards emitting zero Scope 1 emissions and striving to systemically reduce Scope 2 & 3 emissions across its value chain. It also wants to consume and produce in a way that generates zero net waste and creates value for its stakeholders.

In June, a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

The precursor to the ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle developed in partnership with Zero Automotive, the ZED70 (pictured) is based on a Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series and uses either NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) or LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry.

The vehicle comes with continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. Depending on the selected battery chemistry, the battery capacity comes in at 88 kWh (NCM) or 60 kWh (LTO).

The ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle to be delivered to Carrapateena following the trial of the ZED70 will use LTO chemistry and come equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena.

“Working in partnership with Zero Automotive, we recently welcomed the first electric light vehicles onto site, and have the ZED70 Ti model in use underground,” Oliver Glockner, the OZ Minerals lead in developing the ZED70 Ti with Zero Automotive, said. “This is has been well received on site as a significant step in our electrification roadmap towards no diesel particulates underground and no scope 1 emissions on site.”

Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager at Zero Automotive, told IM that OZ Minerals has worked closely with the company in finalising the vehicle requirements and the change management process for implementing a battery-electric vehicle at the mine site.

“Some of the things I am talking about here include:

  • “Regular communications with their team on the progress with the project;
  • “Establishing charging points at the mine;
  • “Organising trial test drive bookings with those employees interested, and collecting performance data and feedback from them;
  • “Testing charging of the vehicle from one of their generators;
  • “Reviews by the emergency services and maintenance teams; and
  • “Planning the site acceptance testing when the OZ Minerals vehicle is delivered.”

Taylor said the LTO batteries the ZED70 Ti is fitted with can travel around 3 million km or endure 20,000 recharges before the battery re-charge ability reduces by 20%. This compares favourably with the 475,000 km, or 1,200 charges, it would take for the NCM battery’s re-charging ability to drop by the same amount.

At the same time as this, the LTO battery system will charge to a 95% charge in three hours on 415 V three-phase power, compared with four-and-a-half hours for the NCM equivalent.

“With DC-DC fast charging you will need 30 mins on the LTO (two hrs for NCM),” Taylor added.

Such benefits outweigh the lower energy density and upfront expense that come with using these LTO batteries, according to Taylor.

In October, OZ Minerals became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD) at Carrapateena.

Huber Automotive improves productivity and safety of battery-electric utility vehicle

Huber Automotive AG has presented an optimised version of its RUN-E Electric Cruiser, an emission-free power package designed for mining applications.

Like the original version, the RUN-E Electric Cruiser is designed for use in extreme environments, but the electrified version of the Toyota Land Cruiser J7 ensures improved air quality, reduced noise pollution and operating cost savings underground, according to the company.

This new, optimised version of the Electric Cruiser follows several deployments in the underground mining field. According to Mathias Koch, Key Account Manager for Huber Automotive’s Hybrid & E-Drive division, units have been on duty since mid-2016 in German salt mines. The company has also sent vehicles to Chile, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Meanwhile, units to be delivered in the March quarter to Germany, Ireland and Canada are likely to benefit from the latest updates.

The E-drive system on the new version consists of series components from suppliers such as Bosch, all of which are arranged in a new architecture to integrate the “individual characteristic strengths”, Huber said.

This is made possible by the core of the system: “an innovative control unit from Huber Automotive AG, which, based on a 32-bit power architecture, causes the individual components to perform at their best under ideal thermal conditions”, it said.

The central vehicle control system of the automotive supplier integrates all system-relevant components, regulates the energy management of the high- and low-voltage system and coordinates brake energy recovery depending on the driving situation as well as the charging and safety management conditions.

“Moreover, it monitors all control and regulation processes with regard to functional safety,” the company said.

The latest update to the E-Drive Kit uses a new battery with a capacity of 35 kWh and high recuperation capability, specially developed for heavy-duty use. The additional customising for mine operations ensures the certified and homologated battery is safe and robust, Huber says.

“Crash tested, waterproof and housed in a fireproof case, the new battery has extensive sensor technology, including CO2 and humidity sensors,” it added. “As a control level, it supports an intelligent thermal runway warning and protection system to provide the best possible safety – especially underground.”

This system operates at both module and cell level, including partial automatic shutdown, to guarantee early warning in the event of irregularities and to prevent self-ignition and total failure in case of small short circuits, Huber explains. The powerful battery not only operates safely but also efficiently and guarantees a range of up to 150 km on-road and 80-100 km off-road.

The RUN-E Electric Cruiser has an output of 90 kW with a maximum torque of 1,410 Nm. Speeds of up to 130 km/h are possible on-road, and up to 35 km/h in off-road terrain with a 15% gradient. In its standard version, it can handle gradients up to 45%, and, with the “high-off-road” option, it achieves the theoretical value of 95%, Huber says. Additional packages, such as battery cooling or heating, and an air conditioning system, allow the electric car to be adapted to the individual conditions of each mine.

Miller Technology’s Relay battery-electric utility vehicles heading to Australia

Miller Technology has sealed a significant contract for its Relay battery-electric utility vehicles, with units set to start up underground at an operation owned by an Australian major miner.

Having passed the evaluation stage and been selected for purchase over competitors’ units, the Relays are en route to Australia, Miller Technology’s Dean Robinson, Vice President (Asia-Pacific & Africa) Director, Global Sales, told IM.

Designed for the harsh environment and rigorous duty cycle required to operate in underground mines, the Relay features an industry first dual charging system allowing for both off-board DC fast charging and on-board AC opportunity charging, according to the company. This can see a single 25-minute charge time provide enough power for a 10-hour mining shift, according to Robinson.

The Relay comes with a mid-ship mounted dual output motor, 100 kW continuous mechanical power output rating (170 kW peak), 680 Nm continuous mechanical torque output rating (1,770 Nm peak) and IP67 ingress protection.

At least one Relay unit has already had an outing in the industry, running at Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson mine, in Ontario, Canada. On reviewing data from this trial, Paul Summers, Lead Developer, Electric Drive Systems, at Miller, previously told IM that it was clear battery-electric vehicles were suitable for utility and support applications, even in hard-rock mines with steep ramps.

On top of the Relay, Miller Technology also produces a Toyota Land Cruiser BEV, “believed to the best of its type by all those miners who have compared the three major units on the market”, Robinson says, while the company is also preparing to release a battery-electric underground grader.

“Around Q2 (June quarter) next year, we’ll also have an underground grader available utilising the same drivetrain as the Relay and, therefore, the same fast chargers,” he said.

The company has also received requests from the unnamed major Australian miner to produce 12-seat personnel carriers based on the Relay platform, according to Robinson.

Epiroc’s battery-electric experience continues to expand as it targets retrofit market

Epiroc has been prepared to electrify the underground mining industry for more than 30 years, so it is no surprise its battery-electric solutions are now firmly taking hold in the sector.

Anders Hedqvist, Vice President of R&D at Epiroc’s Underground division, and Franck Boudreault, Electrification Transformation Lead for Epiroc’s Underground division, made this clear during The Electric Mine Virtual Conference, hosted by International Mining Events, yesterday.

In a presentation titled, ‘From one generation to the next – learnings from zero emission mining’, the pair discussed the evolution of the company’s battery-electric offering. While the company’s first Scooptram ST7 Battery was manufactured in 2013 (then under Atlas Copco), the electrified thinking started decades before this, according to Hedqvist.

“In the 1980s, we had the first [electric] concept available, but the market was not ready then,” he said.

The market is certainly receptive now, according to Boudreault.

“Initially, we had a relatively small market segment for these battery-powered vehicles; now, we’re much more into a global offering,” he said.

This has seen the company deliver battery-electric vehicles to six continents, he said, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

And, in the process, Epiroc has amassed more than 120,000 operating hours from battery-electric machines that include 7 t, 10 t and 14 t LHDs; 20 t and 42 t trucks; and a range of battery-electric mid-sized drilling equipment including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs. The company also offers a 4 t LHD to the Chinese market, and has plans to test an 18 t battery-electric LHD at the LKAB-led Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project, according to Hedqvist.

Looking at these numbers in more detail, it is clear to see the company’s electrification efforts have accelerated.

Back in November 2018 when the company launched its second generation of zero emission equipment, Epiroc said it had more 65,000 hours of battery-electric operations under its belt. It has almost doubled that amount in the space of two years.

This pace is expected to step up again in the future, with Boudreault saying the company is now taking aim at the retrofit market.

“We’re not only satisfied by selling new equipment; we have quite a huge fleet out in the world that has left our factory with a diesel engine,” he said. “What we are doing is creating conversion kits so machines can be converted from diesel to battery power out in the field, meaning we are actually reducing the utilisation of diesel in the mining industry in an active way.”

Helena Hedblom, President and CEO of Epiroc, told IM recently that the company had developed its first battery retrofit kit for a diesel-powered ST1030 LHD.

Boudreault was also keen to point out that Epiroc’s OEM-agnostic message extended to electrification of equipment outside of the company’s current offering.

“We don’t have all of the products that our customers may require, so we are partnering up with other companies that don’t have the strength of developing their own electrical solutions,” he said. “We are basically taking our (electric) solutions and putting them on other OEMs’ machines.”

After Boudreault concluded the presentation with the benefits that came with adopting the company’s battery-electric equipment – an up to 70% reduction in energy consumption and 10% boost in productivity – Hedqvist responded emphatically to a question about the potential for Epiroc’s third-generation machines: “The beauty with electrification is the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do, speaking freely.

“This is not only about batteries, but also about electric drive lines and technical solutions that can enable you to design a machine that is completely different to the design of the original diesel versions.”

As miners look to mineralisation at increasing depths to sustain operations, a major equipment design overhaul from one of the industry’s biggest OEMs could be just what is needed to generate an economic mine plan.