Tag Archives: battery-electric vehicles

Epiroc-Fraser McGill collaboration highlights battery-electric vehicle benefits

Epiroc says its collaboration with Fraser McGill on an impact study of battery-electric vehicles has exceeded expectations, opening up a new frontier in the worldwide underground power revolution.

In 2018, Epiroc launched a new suite of battery-powered products. Following that, the company approached one of the partners in the Waterberg Platinum Group Metals project in South Africa to present the equipment. As a greenfield project, the mine will be able to tailor its planned infrastructure to new equipment technologies, thereby maximising potential benefits. Specialist mining and minerals advisory company, Fraser McGill, was approached to conduct an impact study of battery-electric vehicles and requested help from industry leader Epiroc.

Epiroc’s Mining & Construction publication brought Epiroc’s Don Thompson and Fraser McGill Director, Rob McGill, together to discuss what they found.

Epiroc: How did Fraser McGill come to cooperate with Epiroc on this study?

RM: I’ve been involved with the Waterberg project for many years. I’d been interested in battery-vehicle technologies, specifically to reduce the ventilation and the cooling requirements, but hadn’t had the opportunity to look at battery vehicles in detail. We weren’t looking to partner with one supplier. We were conducting a broad assessment, looking at the impact of battery-electric vehicles on large underground projects – not specifically Epiroc’s equipment. But Epiroc was the furthest ahead in the game, and still is. With the relationship we had with Epiroc, it was a natural fit.

Fraser McGill Director, Rob McGill

Epiroc: What practical steps did your collaboration entail?

DT: Epiroc introduced our first-generation battery-electric fleet in Canada in 2016. We launched the next generation in 2018, with better battery and motor technology. By then we had clocked up more than 100,000 hours, so we had good data, based on actual machines running in production environments. For this study, we provided the technical comparison of diesel versus battery electric, and the benefits thereof, because we can supply the diesel equivalent of a battery-electric machine. We could provide a comparison of heat generation – with ventilation, there’s a significant reduction of what is required. We could also provide the emissions. That was provided to Rob and his team.

RM: Diesel vehicles have been around a long time. There is a lot of data from operations, in terms of how they perform, costs, maintenance schedules and replacement schedules. With the electric vehicles being newer, we had to rely on Epiroc to make a lot of theoretical data available related to the design, and data they’ve been gathering since they rolled out their first generation and the next-generation machines. We conducted the study, but relied on Epiroc to provide us with input and insights, and technical and costing information that allowed us to do an assessment. The comparison goes far beyond comparing two vehicle technologies. The battery vehicle certainly is more efficient and, over time, cheaper. But a lot of the benefits relate to the environment that they operate in – to improvements in health, safety and productivity of workers.

Epiroc: How did your collaboration help identify mine infrastructure and design modifications needed?

DT: We provided the specifications on the chargers required. We provided a number of scenarios and battery selections, and different layouts of charging stations. Fraser McGill would recommend where the client should put the charging station and we could recommend the capacity of the chargers, based on the size and number of vehicles.

RM: A crucial opportunity in a greenfield project is that it allows you to consider how an underground mine would be designed differently if you started with a battery-electric vehicle in mind.

DT: The technical data Epiroc provided would be applicable to greenfield and brownfield operations, but it’s much more suited to a greenfield operation because you can adjust the mine layout. The mine would consider redesigning the tunnel layout to see where we can enhance the regeneration of batteries because it reduces the cost.

RM: An example is the hauling model. If we predominantly hauled rock on the incline versus the decline, we would significantly increase our battery operating cost. It’s something we can quantify already, but it requires that redesign.

Epiroc: What made your collaboration a success, and what have you learned from it?

DT: Interest from the client was probably the main driver. They realised that, with a greenfield project, it made sense to do a trade-off study. But I don’t think we could have done this alone. We don’t have the resources, here or in Sweden, when it comes to the full package calculation – be it ventilation, the mining layout, or contacts with the different clients.

Don Thompson, Manager Global Customer Relationships, Epiroc

RM: Any collaboration is successful if you’ve got the same vision. We must ensure we provide decision-making tools that are well informed, so we need to speak to people who really know what they’re talking about. Then we can comfortably go to our mining customers and say: this is really the way to go. I’m very impressed with what Epiroc has done in this regard.

Epiroc: How was the study received?

RM: Since completing this study and circulating some of the outcomes, we’ve had interest in Canada, in Australia and from several customers in South Africa who we are talking to about doing similar studies. The technologies are so attractive, and customers are asking: Where do I start? How do I roll it out? What’s the state of the technology?

Epiroc: Do you foresee future collaboration?

RM: Absolutely. It’s been a good experience, and we rely on working with experts. We are thrilled to have worked with a technology leader like Epiroc.

DT: Another client has shown an interest in battery-electric technology for a new mine they are developing. They want to do a comparative study, and we hope to collaborate with Fraser McGill on this, too.

This interview is an edited version of a piece that first appeared here

ABB and MEDATech team up to tackle mine decarbonisation

ABB says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MEDATech to jointly explore solutions to decarbonise mining operations through charging solutions and optimised electric drive systems in battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for heavy-duty applications.

The two companies will share expertise and collaborate in bringing solutions to market that will reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with heavy machinery in mining, they say.

Technology provider ABB and MEDATech bring complementary expertise to designing and building electric heavy mobile equipment. The collaboration could involve exploring further development and possible technologies for high power and automated charging and connector systems to facilitate the adoption of BEVs in industries with heavy machinery.

“We are very excited to be working with ABB in this new and dynamic field of electric vehicles and will bring our advanced drive train technology to the forefront alongside ABB’s advanced charging technology,” Rob Rennie, Founder and President of MEDATech, said. “Collaborating to accelerate the adoption to emission-free transport systems enabling cleaner operations is truly at the heart of our company.”

The collaboration with MEDATech, which largely works across the mining, construction and energy sectors, is the latest in a series that ABB is developing with OEMs and technology innovators to accelerate the transition to all-electric mines.

Mehrzad Ashnagaran, ABB’s Global Product Line Manager Electrification & Composite Plant, said: “Within the ABB Ability™ eMine framework, ABB is increasingly working with OEMs and technology innovators to fast-track the development of new emissions-reducing systems through the electrification and automation of the whole mining operation. Strategic collaborations, such as with MEDATech, provide solutions that support responsible mining operations. The aim of our combined solutions is to enhance the efficiency and flexibility of customer businesses, contribute to the reduction of CO₂ and the realisation of a sustainable society.”

Nic Beutler, ABB’s Global Product Manager Power System & Charging Solutions, added: “The mining sector has set clear and ambitious targets to decarbonise operations for a more sustainable future. To meet or even exceed productivity targets while not compromising on safety, new thinking and technological solutions are required. ABB and MEDATech are an ideal match for exploring the steps needed to reach net zero emissions for heavy-duty industrial machinery.”

ABB recently launched ABB Ability eMine, an approach, method and integrated portfolio of electrification and digital systems designed to accelerate the decarbonisation of the mining sector. Included within this was the eMine FastCharge solution (prototype pictured) and eMine Trolley System.

MEDATech, meanwhile, recently launched what it says is the “Deswik of underground fleet electric vehicle electrification” with its Electric Vehicle Fleet Optimization Software (EV-FOS).

The agreement with MEDATech will complement ABB’s engineering and technology expertise on-board and off-board mining vehicles and allow for much needed and lasting solutions for the industry, it said.

MEDATech provides its ALTDRIVE drivetrain technology to OEMs and end users while consulting and developing optimisation tools to realise the efficient and cost-effective implementation of electric fleets, according to ABB.

Based in Ontario, Canada, it has built extensive know-how and expertise in designing, building and testing of prototype systems and vehicles since 2003. It launched the 100% electric mining haul truck, the Western Star 4900XD (pictured below), which has ultra-fast charging capability, accepting a charge power of 600 kW.

With ABB’s charging capability matching charging cycles to the production, charging times of less than 15 minutes can be achieved, according to the company.

Adria ready to make BEV statement with revamped charging platform

The emergence of Adria Power Systems’ latest charging solution is evidence of just how quickly the industry is adopting battery-electric vehicles underground and on surface, while highlighting an incoming interoperability issue the industry is likely to face.

The charger in question – a 1 MW bi-directional system with four bridgeable outputs – has been designed as part of a federal and provincial government electrification program centred around Nouveau Monde Graphite’s Matawinie project in Quebec, Canada.

The collaboration, involving the Innovative Vehicle Institute, Propulsion Québec, the National Research Council of Canada, Adria, Dana TM4, Fournier et fils and NMG, would result in the development of a new electric propulsion system with a rapid recharging infrastructure adapted to heavy vehicles in the open-pit mining industry.

For Adria’s part, it was tasked with creating a charging platform that could energise a battery-electric converted Western Star 6900XD truck with a 40 ton (36 t) loading capacity.

Jean-Francois Couillard, President of Adria, told IM that this charger, initially planned as an 800-kW model, would be used for a “slower and opportunity charging application” at Matawinie, with the site’s operating philosophy not requiring a fast charge solution.

While 800 kW and a slower/opportunity charging solution was all that was required, the company has outdone itself, developing a 1 MW model that, Adria says, can be used in a variety of applications in both underground and surface mining.

It is a step up from the CCS-type charger deployed at Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson mine in 2020, which had two DC/AC outputs and offered Level 3 DC fast charging with a type 2 plug as recommended by the GMG BEV guideline.

Such a change required a revamped design philosophy, according to Couillard.

“Technically, when we started to plan for this prototype, we wanted to be conservative, but, down the road with the design work, we realised we could go to 1 MW with this same system,” he said.

This watt capacity is high when compared with other charging solutions to have recently hit the market.

Adria Power Systems’ new 1 MW charger comes with a state-of-the-art user interface that will allow user friendly use and status reporting, according to the company

The new Cat® MEC500 Mobile Equipment Charger, for instance, comes with a 500-kW capability able to charge its R1700 XE in less than 20 minutes (when using parallel charging units), while the Tritium RT175-S charger re-energising Miller Technology’s Relay utility vehicles at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland, Australia, comes with 175 kW of output and a stated battery charge time of as little as 20 minutes.

The flexibility of Adria’s new solution is greater than many chargers on the market too, with Couillard saying the charger could end up being used as a 1 MW solution where all four outputs are bridged together for an extremely fast charge, or where one LHD from one OEM is fast charged with a 500 kW input from two of the charger’s bridged outputs while two utility vehicles from two different manufacturers are plugged into the other vacant outputs, each taking 250 kW of charge.

“The four outputs are totally independent; you can charge with four different protocols to communicate with various batteries at the same time, and you can charge with different power levels at the same time,” Couillard said. “It really can adapt very easily to any situation.”

This is the ideal solution for an industry still transitioning to electrification, where different applications may require fast charge, battery swap, opportunity charging or some other option.

On top of this, Adria’s new charging platform can be connected directly to a mine site’s medium-voltage infrastructure. There is no need for them to acquire an additional transformer to step down/up the voltage, according to Couillard.

“There are no other accessories required, which brings a lot of savings to customers,” he said.

Couillard sees the 1 MW charger in question as proving sufficient to fast charge the new higher tonnage battery-electric vehicles coming onto the market – Sandvik’s upcoming 65 t BEV being a good example here – yet he anticipates future requirements to go beyond the 1 MW mark with the introduction of bigger trucks and larger electric fleets on surface and underground.

Adria is more than prepared for this.

“We expect the power needs to go higher, but there will be a technical limit at one point, probably driven by customer infrastructure,” he said. “If you talk about high power for fast charging, then you will have a very big peak on the network that will have to be compensated somehow.”

Even with this theoretical technical limit, Adria is currently engaged with one mining company on a 5 MW charging system for surface mining trucks.

While recognising this as a “good challenge” for Adria’s team, Couillard says the new charging platform has been designed to accommodate this scale and potential problems that may come with it.

“We know there are a lot more challenges coming up at these higher power levels, namely harmonics,” he said. “With a small number of smaller capacity chargers, you don’t really see a harmonics impact. By the time you get to using multiple chargers, it can be a really big problem.”

The draw of highly distorted currents and voltages caused by high harmonics levels can potentially cause additional power losses and failures in distribution transformers, feeders and some conventional loads, such as AC motors, according to industry reports. It can also lead to higher power consumption costs, according to Adria.

This issue is not something many battery charging companies and mine site operators are considering, according to Couillard.

“The four outputs are totally independent; you can charge with four different protocols to communicate with various batteries at the same time, and you can charge with different power levels at the same time,” Jean-Francois Couillard says

“You see a lot of studies right now that mention the ease of building a charger up to 100 kW capacity, but, when they get to a higher power, the management or mitigation of the harmonics becomes more problematic,” he said.

“This is an issue we have solved on our platform, making it easy to scale to a different power level while keeping the same efficiency and low harmonics.”

The 1 MW charger to be used at Matawinie could end up charging more than just the Western Star truck conversion, with Adria using standardised industry protocols that all OEMs can subscribe to.

Whether all OEMs will follow such protocols is up for debate, according to Couillard.

“Some OEMs see these proprietary charging infrastructure solutions as very strategic,” he said. “A lot of them know that if they sell their charger to a mining company, they can lock that mining company into using their equipment.

“That makes strategic sense from their perspective, but it doesn’t make sense for the mining customer. The mining customer needs to have maximum flexibility and be in control of their future if they are to adopt electrification across their fleet. They cannot tie themselves to one manufacturer for the lifetime of the mine.”

This interoperability issue is one the industry knows well given the ongoing struggle to access machine telemetry data to improve fleet efficiency and reduce downtime.

And, it should be remembered, these charging systems are not cheap, so the idea of having multiple proprietary chargers to energise a mixed fleet is not something mine operators will want to consider.

“I think the mine operators will put a lot of pressure on the OEMs to offer some standardised options, or make their machines compatible with alternative platforms,” Couillard predicted.

As the industry ponders this predicament, Adria is continuing its in-house testing of the 1 MW charger. With plans to finish this testing and the charger assembly early in 2022, and the current schedule at Matawinie requiring the arrival of the charger next year, Couillard is hoping to take advantage of that spare time to test the charger underground in real mine-site conditions.

“We have a couple of prospects already, but we’re open for solicitation,” he said. “Ideally, we would have a couple of 2-3 month mine site trials under our belt before the charger arrives at Matawinie.”

He concluded: “I can say with confidence that this is the most interesting offering on the market right now. We are looking forward to putting this charger into service and show the charging advancement to mining companies.”

Newmont starts Rokion R400 battery-electric vehicle trial at Tanami

Newmont’s Tanami operation in the the Northern Territory of Australia has started trialling a new electric vehicle in its underground operations.

The Rokion R400 will initially be used to transport team members up and down the mine, the company said in a post on Facebook. The vehicle is equipped for the transport of 12 people and comes with a battery capacity of 100 kWh.

Newmont said the vehicle is fitted with good suspension and ergonomics, being designed for passenger comfort.

Early indicators show the vehicle has the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging, Newmont said.

“We hope the trial proves to be successful, and can become the starting point for the future of electric vehicles both light and heavy at Newmont Tanami,” it added.

This is not the first Canada-manufactured Rokion battery-electric vehicle to make an entrance in Australia. The company has previously tested both a Rokion R200 and Rokion R400 at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland.

Newmont, meanwhile, is in the process of expanding the Tanami operation through the Tanami Expansion 2 project. This is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

OZ Minerals Board gives go ahead for shaft expansion at Prominent Hill

The OZ Minerals Board has approved construction of a hoisting shaft at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia, paving the way for a mine life extension and throughput expansion.

Prominent Hill mine began operation in 2009 as an open pit and is now an underground mine producing 4.5 Mt/y, moving to 4.5-5 Mt/y from 2022 via a trucking operation.

Coming with a pre-production capital expenditure of A$600 million ($436 million), the Wira Shaft expansion project will see the underground production rate increase to 6 Mt/y from 2025. At this point, the average annual copper and gold production is expected to be circa-54,000 t and circa-108,000 oz, respectively, some 23% more than expected in the current trucking operation.

The study leverages close to 100 Mt of mineral resources outside the previous Prominent Hill ore reserves of 38 Mt of underground material.

Sinking of the shaft is expected to commence in the March quarter of 2022. Mining and installation of underground and surface infrastructure is scheduled for completion along with commissioning of the Wira shaft at the end of 2024, with nameplate capacity expected in the first half of 2025.

The shaft design comprises a 1,329-m-deep, concrete-lined shaft with a diameter of 7.5 m. Construction of the shaft will be via conventional strip and line method, with the sinking period approximately two years.

The shaft mine expansion also enables generational province potential with further mine life extensions possible as 67 Mt of resource remains outside the shaft expansion mine plan, OZ Minerals says. Further, an exploration program has also identified that mineralisation remains open at depth beyond the current resource boundary, potentially accessible via the shaft.

Announcing the expansion today, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “We are thrilled to see a long and productive future for Prominent Hill with the Wira shaft mine expansion enabling access to areas previously thought uneconomic and opening up potential new prospects.

“Prominent Hill is a quality orebody and remains open at depth. The reliable performance of the operation and its consistent resource to reserve conversion rate were all influential in the decision.”

For the first time, the company has used a carbon price in determining the project valuation, a practice it plans to adopt in other OZ Minerals projects going forward, Cole said.

The company plans to reduce its underground loading fleet to eight vehicles, from nine after the shaft expansion, with its trucking fleet going from circa-14 to five, post-shaft.

Scope 1 emissions intensity per tonne of concentrate are also expected to drop from 0.47 t CO2-e/t to 0.28 t CO2-e/t after the shaft installation.

The pre-production capital of A$600 million, which was an increase on the A$450 million outlined in the November 2020 expansion study, enables transformation of the site in line with the strategic aspirations of OZ Minerals, it said.

Provisions have been included in site capital projections to support this transformation, including progressing underground fleet electrification, upgrading some of the existing infrastructure, remote operation capability and automation.

The company expanded on this: “A battery-powered mining fleet is part of the future vision as OZ Minerals moves towards its zero-carbon emission aspiration. For this study, diesel trucks were assumed. However, installation of enabling infrastructure is included in the Prominent Hill Expansion case to minimise future disruptions when the switch to an electric fleet occurs. This, implemented as part of the asset’s site-wide electrification aspiration, would contribute to a further reduction in Scope 1 emissions.”

A pilot study is also being undertaken to review a low-energy dry grinding option. The Prominent Hill Expansion Study is not directly connected to, nor dependent on this ongoing work, however, the work presents potential future cost reduction and other opportunities, OZ Minerals said.

Vale, Glencore, Newcrest and others join BluVein’s next gen trolley charging project

Seven major mining companies have financially backed BluVein and its “next generation trolley-charging technology” for heavy mining vehicles, with the industry collaboration project now moving forward with final system development and construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia.

BluVein can now refer to Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and OZ Minerals as project partners.

Some additional mining companies still in the process of joining the BluVein project will be announced as they officially come on board, BluVein said, while four major mining vehicle manufacturers have signed agreements to support BluVein controls and hardware integration into their vehicles.

BluVein, a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek, is intent on laying the groundwork for multiple OEMs and mining companies to play in the mine electrification space without the need to employ battery swapping or acquire larger, heavier batteries customised to cope with the current requirements placed on the heaviest diesel-powered machinery operating in the mining sector.

It is doing this through adapting charging technology originally developed by Sweden-based EVIAS for electrified public highways. The application of this technology in mining could see operations employ smaller, lighter battery-electric vehicles that are connected to the mine site grid via its ingress protection-rated slotted Rail™ system. This system effectively eliminates all exposed high voltage conductors, providing significantly improved safety and ensures compliance with mine electrical regulations, according to BluVein. This is complemented with its Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

BluVein has been specifically designed for harsh mining environments and is completely agnostic to vehicle manufacturer. This standardisation is crucial, BluVein says, as it allows a mixed fleet of mining vehicle to use the same rail infrastructure.

While underground mining looks like the most immediate application, BluVein says the technology also has applications in open-pit mining and quarrying.

It is this technology to be trialled in a demonstration pilot in a simulated underground environment. BluVein says it plans on starting the trial install early works towards the end of this year for a mid- to late-2022 trial period.

The BluVein project will be managed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

Australia’s FBI CRC backs Mine Electrification project

Experts led by the University of Adelaide are looking to help the mining industry find a pathway to more efficient, green, sustainable and safer mining operations by transitioning to battery-supported electric vehicles (BEVs).

In a new project funded by the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI CRC), researchers are providing the Australian mining industry with a suite of decision-making tools and guidelines that will aid their transition towards BEVs and associated stationary machinery in their mining operations, the FBI CRC said.

“About 30-50% of the total mine site energy usage is related to diesel-powered mining vehicles,” Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani, the University of Adelaide’s, Lecturer, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said. “This represents a significant proportion of current mining operational costs, and the prevalence of diesel fuel usage presents significant health and safety concerns.

“Mining is a critical industry in Australia. It is great to see a growing movement in this industry to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the global transition to renewable energy and electric transportation. Electric vehicles and machinery, combined with partial or standalone renewable energy powered microgrids, will provide a pathway to more efficient, sustainable and safer mining operations.”

Dr Pourmousavi Kani will work on the project, named ‘Assessment, Design and Operation of Battery-Supported Electric Mining Vehicles and Machinery’, or Mine Electrification for short, with Associate Professor, Wen Soong, and Associate Professor, Nesimi Ertugrul, who are also from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The project was developed in conjunction with and funded by the FBI CRC and its participants which are: BHP Nickel West, IGO Limited, Energetics Pty Ltd, Galaxy Resources Limited, Multicom Resources Limited, the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining, Queensland’s Department of Energy and Public Works, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia.

The project, which has a budget of approximately A$2.76 million ($2.02 million), of which A$1.16 million is in cash and the remainder in-kind support, and lasts for 3.5 years, will, the FBI CRC says, enable the resources sector to:

  • Reduce the costs and improve the reliability of energy;
  • Improve occupational health and safety; and
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of production.

“The project will allow mining companies to understand the benefits and technical risks and costs of implementation,” Dr Pourmousavi Kani said.

“It will also assist equipment, technology and service providers to service mining companies during the transition to BEVs. End users will benefit from a de-risked strategy to transition, reduced production costs, reduced energy costs, reduced emissions and an upskilled work force.

“Overall, this project will help the Australian mining industry to remain competitive globally by greening their production and lowering their operational costs.”

Dr Jacques Eksteen, a Research Director of the FBICRC, said: “This project is highly significant for the FBI CRC as it serves as an important development and demonstration project of the uptake of battery technologies in mining vehicles and mobile equipment.

“This application of battery technology offers significant potential benefits to industry, and we are keen to invest in developing and enhancing capability in the field of mobile mine electrification.”

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, added: “Sustainable mining operations is a focus for South Australia, and the Mine Electrification project demonstrates our leadership and ability to collaborate as we work towards reducing our carbon emissions.”

Australian government backs Batt Mobile Equipment BEV building plan

Batt Mobile Equipment Pty Ltd, based in Tomago, New South Wales, has been given a boost in its pursuit to electrify the mining sector, having been awarded a A$4.55 million ($3.35 million) grant to build heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles for underground-hard rock mines as part of the Australian government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

It has become one of eight companies to have a project funded in the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing sector, as part of the first round of the A$1.3 billion MMI.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said: “Australia’s resource sector is world-class. Through our A$1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are helping to unlock the enormous potential by providing targeted support for projects that will deliver big rewards for our local economy, generate more export earnings and create new jobs.”

Batt Mobile Equipment will use the $4.55 million to build “heavy battery-electric vehicles for underground hard-rock mines, delivering Australia’s first commercially and operationally viable alternative to a diesel fleet”, the government said in its press release. “This would catalyse the electrification of global hard-rock mines, and deliver emission reduction, safety and productivity outcomes.”

In partnership with 3ME Technology and Aeris Resources – with support from METS Ignited – Batt Mobile Equipment delivered the TRITEV 20 t Integrated Tool-Carrier (IT, pictured), being trialled at Aeris’ Tritton mine in the state.

Batt Mobile Equipment and 3ME also recently signed a deal that will see 150 of 3ME’s Electric Vehicle Engine packages for the TRITEV delivered to Batt Mobile Equipment over the next five years.

RPMGlobal adds electric vehicles to the HaaS simulation mix

RPMGlobal says it has further advanced its environmental, social and governance (ESG) software capabilities following the completion of enhancements to its Haulage as a Service (HaaS) simulation product to incorporate support for electric vehicles.

In addition, the company is planning to add hydrogen haulage vehicle technology into the mix later.

As a cloud enabled, service-orientated approach to haulage analysis, HaaS provides mining companies with the capability to undertake haulage calculations in a cloud environment, according to RPM.

The introduction of electric vehicle support will allow users to model energy usage and regenerative braking within HaaS, providing users with the ability to complete travel time calculations programmatically in a cloud-based environment.

RPMGlobal’s investment in both cloud and sustainability has increased significantly in the past year, culminating in the latest release of HaaS. HaaS, which was the first RPMGlobal solution to be released as a true Software as a Service offering, is a native cloud application that gives miners increased operational agility to undertake haulage calculations from any location, the company explained.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the latest release further demonstrated the company’s commitment to support mining organisations on their journey towards environmentally responsible operations.

“RPMGlobal is focused on contributing towards a sustainable future for the people and organisations that we work with and it is great to see the advancements that our software is contributing to in this space,” he said.

With hydrogen now viewed as having an important role to play in the industry’s bid to decarbonise through the integration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the next step for RPMGlobal’s haulage simulation platforms will be the introduction of hydrogen vehicle technology to the mix. Foundation work has already started on the offering, with completion planned later this calendar year, the company said.

“This new functionality will allow organisations to simulate hydrogen-powered vehicles and run scenarios with the specific characteristics of the new hydrogen technology,” RPM said. “The simulation platform will then provide a way to assess options and scenarios for diesel, electric or hydrogen powered vehicles in any combination.”

Mathews views the platform as critical capability for mining organisations and original equipment manufacturers as they search for ways to remove reliance on fossil fuels in mining.

“As more and more organisations commit to emission reduction targets, it will be critical to have software that can simulate different outcomes based on what combination of diesel-, electric- or hydrogen-powered vehicles are deployed within the mining operation and allow users to quantify the results of each scenario in a way that assists them to make the best decisions inclusive of sustainability considerations,” he said.

An increasing number of miners have formally set emissions targets while the majors have committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Many of the plans to reach these decarbonisation commitments have an element that focuses on haulage of material and the shift from diesel to alternative energy sources that are more sustainable, according to Mathews.

“Whether an organisation is looking to battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen, or trolley infrastructure as a greener alternative, our intent is to ensure RPMGlobal’s simulation solutions can support and enhance those decisions into the future,” he said.

The company added electric vehicle support to its haulage simulation platforms, HAULSIM and SIMULATE, back in May.

Epiroc drilling, bolting, electrification innovations set for MINExpo 2021

Epiroc’s MINExpo 2021 line-up is set to include a variety of innovative and productive offerings including its latest Pit Viper blasthole drill rig, its recently launched Boomer underground drill, new rock bolters and a host of aftermarket products geared to mine electrification.

Making its MINExpo debut in Las Vegas, September 13-15, will be the Epiroc Pit Viper 291 (pictured above). This rig is designed to tackle larger diameter drilling in soft-to-medium ground conditions in both rotary and DTH drilling. The new addition to the Pit Viper range is capable of 171-311 mm diameter holes with a 16.76 m clean hole single pass with the drill bit above the table. It is also available with an 18 m option.

The Pit Viper 291 offers more than 100 different options to configure the rig to a client’s specifications. With Epiroc’s Rig Control System (RCS), the Pit Viper 291 can be configured with scalable automation features, including fully-autonomous drilling, the company said.

The new generation SmartROC D65 XLF will also be highlighted. This rig is packed with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling, and is equipped with an intelligent fuel-saving system that reduces fuel consumption by 20% compared with the FlexiROC D65 drill rig, according to the company. It is available in three feed beam sizes to carry 5-, 6- or 8-m pipes, and has the capacity to drill down to a depth of 56 m.

The smaller SmartROC T45 will also be discussed. This tophammer surface drill rig for quarrying boosts productivity, reduces fuel costs and offers smart options and features such as Hole Navigation System, AutoPos and ROC Manager.

Epiroc’s Boomer M20 with battery option, launched earlier this year, will also receive the MINExpo 2021 treatment.

With protected hydraulics, sensors and cables, the new Boomer M20 is the next generation in underground mining, the company says. The world’s first face drill rig with internal hydraulics, the Boomer M20 is designed to minimise unplanned stops and maximise uptime and performance even in the toughest conditions.

High precision and performance are ensured with on-board automation features, tele-remote capabilities and digital drill plans to provide higher reliability and quality of the full drill cycle. The Boomer M20 comes with a battery-electric driveline option where, with the on-board charger, charging automatically happens while connected to the grid for drilling.

The Boltec M10 and E10 bolting rigs also come with a battery driveline option.

This next-generation rock reinforcement rig is available in two versions – the Boltec M10 and E10 – with the Boltec E10 showcased at MINExpo 2021. Designed for increased productivity and quality bolt installation, the rigs feature a new operator control panel, reduced noise levels, better visibility and improved operator ergonomics, according to the company.

The Boltec M10 and E10 can handle different types of bolts, mesh and installation methods, as well as optional battery-electric driveline or diesel hydraulic, radial and face bolting capabilities and extension drilling capability. Optional tele-remote operation is available, as well as single bolt auto installation with self-drilling anchor bolts in combination with pumpable resin.

Epiroc will be exhibiting several products from its tools range including the COP 57P, a versatile DTH hammer range. It is based on a modular design platform unique in today’s market, according to the company. The customisable hammer is available in 19 variants specific to mining, quarrying, water well drilling and geotechnical drilling.

To highlight Epiroc’s commitment to continued customer support, it will showcase several aftermarket products at MINExpo 2021.

Electrification solutions from Epiroc support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles, with several products and services in the battery field:

  • The Epiroc battery system is designed with modularity and safety in mind, ensuring each individual part of the battery can be monitored and controlled separately;
  • Batteries as a Service eliminates the risks of owning batteries and the solution provides all the benefits of electrical power;
  • Battery conversion kits from Epiroc will speed up the switch from diesel-powered equipment to battery-electric vehicles;
  • The electrification offering from Epiroc also includes a wide range of charging products; and
  • With the recent acquisition of Meglab, Epiroc has strengthened its capacity to provide customers with the infrastructure required as mines transition to BEV.

Apart from the electrification offering, Epiroc will display service products, upgrades and programs, including the COP MD20 hydraulic rock drill and programs in the areas of “Remanufacturing and Live Work Elimination”.

During MINExpo 2021, Epiroc will showcase automation and information management solutions as part of its 6th Sense capabilities. 6th Sense is Epiroc’s answer to the mining and construction industries need for digitalisation as an enabler for safety and productivity gains.