Tag Archives: battery-electric

Epiroc prepared for more order records after strong Q2

Record orders received, high revenue growth and improved profitability were all part of Epiroc’s June quarter financial results as the OEM also made significant headway on its diesel-to-battery-electric retrofit plan to help electrify the mining sector.

Orders received increased 37% to a record high of SEK11.07 billion ($1.27 billion). This corresponds to 45% organic growth compared with the June quarter of 2020, the company said, noting that the 2020 three-month period was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within this, equipment had the highest organic order growth of 76%, supported by a few large orders, such as an underground mining equipment order from Mexican contractor CoMinVi for use at several mines throughout the country.

The aftermarket also had a strong development, with organic growth of 26% for service and 42% for Tools & Attachments, Epiroc noted.

On the electrification front, Epiroc also highlighted that the June quarter had seen the company win several orders for battery-electric equipment, including one from Ivanplats for the Platreef project in South Africa, while receiving the first orders for its diesel-to-battery retrofit solution. The latter is starting with the conversion of diesel ST1030 loaders to battery-electric versions.

Revenues increased 15% to SEK9.733 billion in the June quarter, while operating profit and operating margin rose 54% and 22.4% to SEK2.182 billion and 22.4%, respectively.

The period was also characterised by several acquisitions, including the purchase of Australia-based Kinetic Logging Services, Canada-based 3D-P, and South Africa-based MineRP. Chile-based Mining TAG and Meglab, based in Canada, also came into the Epiroc fold in earlier July.

Speaking to IM just after the results came out, Helena Hedblom, Epiroc President and CEO, said the company had seen the automation, digitalisation and electrification trends observed across industry accelerate in these regions, among others, since the emergence of COVID-19.

“We see that different regions are ahead in terms of different capabilities,” she said. “We have seen a lot around digitalisation and automation in Australia, and, in Canada, when it comes to electrification, there are a lot of things happening. South Africa is strong when it comes to software and, on top of that, there are some regional players serving the sector like Mining TAG.

“We, as Epiroc, can come with our global footprint and help these regional players go abroad and roll out the technology on a global level.”

These acquisitions have seen the company’s staffing contingent swell in the last year. At the end of June, Epiroc said it had 14,569 employees across the globe, compared with 13,967 a year earlier, tied mainly to these acquisitions. Indeed, the three companies acquired during the June quarter came with 430 employees in total.

At the end of 2019, prior to the global onset of the pandemic, Epiroc had 14,268 employees on its books.

While Hedblom acknowledged much of the staffing increase was on the back of acquisitions, she did say the company was ramping-up additional workforce in “manufacturing, in supply chain and in service”.

And looking back to the rationalisation carried out across the company during the height of COVID-19 worries – which saw a notice of termination provided to 425 employees in Sweden and the consolidation of the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada – Hedblom said the company had since repositioned itself for the type of growth it was now experiencing.

“When we did the correction last year, we addressed a lot related to, mainly, admin and back office. With these acquisitions coming on board, of course, the majority of employees are technology-related people…software developers and service people to manage the technology out in the field.”

And, lastly, when it comes to the capacity to keeping up with record orders, Hedblom said: “We have a very flexible manufacturing setup where we do the final assembly, in house, and a lot of the pre-assembly is done by some external suppliers. That is how we are – and have always – managed swings in order volumes.

“We can also add more capacity if needed in our assembly lines. We are not regionally limited there; being able to use the different facilities we have in both the US and Sweden, in addition to China and India. We can balance that demand between the sites.”

Ivanplats to trial Epiroc battery-electric drills and LHDs at Platreef mine

Epiroc says it has won a significant order for battery-electric mining equipment from Ivanplats that will be used to develop its greenfield Platreef mine in South Africa in the “most sustainable and productive manner possible”.

Ivanplats, a subsidiary of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines, has ordered several Boomer M2 Battery face drill rigs and Scooptram ST14 Battery LHDs (pictured).

These machines will be trialled during the Platreef underground mine’s initial development phase, Epiroc said, adding that Ivanplats has the ambition to use all battery-electric vehicles in its mining fleet at Platreef.

The order exceeds ZAR150 million ($10.2 million) in value and was booked in the June quarter of 2021.

Ivanhoe indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats. The South Africa beneficiaries of the approved broad-based, black economic empowerment structure have a 26% stake in the project, with the remaining 10% owned by a Japanese consortium of ITOCHU Corporation, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, and Japan Gas Corporation.

The Platreef 2020 feasibility study builds on the results of the 2017 feasibility study and is based on an unchanged mineral reserve of 125 Mt at 4.4 g/t 3PGE+Au, project designs for mining, and plant and infrastructure as in the 2017 study; except with an increased production rate from 4 Mt/y to 4.4 Mt/y, in two modules of 2.2 Mt/y, for annual production of more than 500,000 oz of palladium, platinum, rhodium and gold; plus more than 35 MIb of nickel and copper.

The initial plan is to start at a mining rate of 700,000 t/y before scaling up. An updated feasibility study on the plan is expected to be published before the end of the year.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said it was “encouraging” that Ivanplats is considering going all battery-electric at Platreef.

“Battery-electric equipment is increasingly embraced by mining companies as it provides a healthier work environment, lower total operating costs and higher productivity,” she said. “The technology is now well established, and Epiroc is driving this change toward emissions-free mining.”

Marna Cloete, Ivanhoe Mines’ President and CFO, said: “We want to be at the forefront of utilising battery electric, zero-emission equipment at all of our mining operations. This partnership with Epiroc for emissions-free mining equipment at the Platreef Mine is an important first step towards achieving our net-zero carbon emissions goals while mining metals required for a cleaner environment.”

Boomer M2 Battery face drill rigs and Scooptram ST14 Battery loaders are built in Sweden, and are automation-ready and equipped with Epiroc’s telematics solution Certiq.

The equipment will be delivered early to Platreef in 2022. Epiroc will also provide on-site operator and maintenance training to Ivanplats, it said.

Epiroc intends to offer its complete fleet of underground mining equipment as battery-electric versions by 2025, and its full fleet for surface operations as battery-powered versions by 2030.

State of Play mine electrification report sheds light on benefits, hurdles and risks

More than half of mining industry executives say they would electrify their mine sites for cost reasons, according to the latest State of Play report on electrification.

With the mining industry rapidly adopting new technologies to decarbonise their operations, the Australia-based State of Play platform has, again, sought to gather industry perspectives on the reasons companies are pursuing their shift away from fossil fuels.

The latest report follows the inaugural State of Play: Electrification report, released in 2020. This report, in part, led to the formation of the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaboration between mining and service companies aiming to accelerate progress towards the fully electrified zero CO2 and zero particulates mine.

The findings from the latest report – which took into account 450-plus individual surveys, five industry webinars and workshops and five interviews with “thought leaders” – have reinforced that mine electrification is a foundation enabler for the clean energy transformation of mine sites.

“The mining industry sees it as one of the most pressing transformation imperatives for the industry, facilitating precision automation and the digitisation of mine operations, whilst improving environmental and health outcomes,” it said.

At the same time, the report acknowledges that mine electrification technology is currently undergoing a “maturation process” with 49% of mining CEOs referenced in the report believing it will take existing mines on average five-to-10 years to electrify.

“Much of the technology for full electrification of mine sites is available today, however a significant knowledge gap exists across industry relating to the capability of electrified mines and the strategy for implementation,” it said.

Of the industry executives surveyed for the report, 57% expect the energy transition to be ‘the’ global trend that will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 15 years.

Close to 90% (89%) expect mine sites will electrify within the next 20 years and 61% expect the “next generation” of mines will be all-electric.

In keeping with this, 83% expect renewable energy technologies will significantly change mining operations over the next 15 years; and 98% view mine automation as ‘the’ technology to benefit the most from electrification.

The responses related to benefits expected from this transition brought up some of the most interesting insights into the mine electrification evolution, indicating there are environmental, cost and reputation risk advantages associated with electrifying operations.

For instance, of the survey respondents, just over 90% (91%) expected the shift to an electrified system to create opportunities for new business models, while just over half (53%) say they would electrify their mine sites for cost reasons. The latter indicates that the cost of operating, establishing and maintaining new electrified equipment and infrastructure is now at a point where it could not only compete, but provide an economic advantage over fossil fuel-powered operations in the long term.

Close to four-fifths of respondents (79%) expect there to be a health-related industry class action in the next 15 years – indicating the reputational risk that could come with maintaining the operational status quo.

Some 71% view processing and 68% view extraction as having the greatest leverage in decarbonising the mining value chain, the report confirmed, while 46% expect innovation in carbon emissions and 42% expect innovation in diesel replacement will have the greatest environmental benefit in their business. Close to 90% (86%) expect transparency of the source of raw materials to become a significant driver of mining company value.

In key areas of the value chain, miners are faced with distinct choices of which technology to invest in (eg what type of battery storage technology, swap versus fast charging, etc). Of the survey respondents:

  • 60% believe miners should begin transitioning to an all-electric system with installing renewables. Electrical infrastructure was second with 37%, with heavy mobile equipment third with 32%;
  • 87% expect solar will become the most widely used energy source in the industry in the next 15 years, followed by gas, wind and diesel (58%, 44% and 39%, respectively);
  • 76% expect remote mine sites will use batteries to supplement renewables, followed by diesel with 53% and demand management at 42%;
  • There is no consensus as to which energy source will power heavy mobile equipment between lithium batteries, hybrids and diesel (28%, 21% and 18% respectively); and
  • 54% expect infrastructure to be the main challenge for transitioning mine sites to electric.

Of these stats above, the lack of consensus as to which energy source will power heavy mobile equipment is as enlightening as it is expected.

Battery-electric technology has matured to the point where one would expect it to dominate in the underground space, followed closely by fuel cell power, hybrids and some form of trolley, but it is a lot harder to predict the winner in the open-pit mining space, with major miners pursuing different developments related to hydrogen, batteries, trolley assist and alternative fuels.

“The mass adoption of electrification technology and storage systems to power mine sites has so far been slow,” the report stated. “It is clear that as an industry, this knowledge gap will need to be confronted largely through testing and piloting, which allows for the development of case studies for application, economic models and best practice guidelines.”

Of survey respondents:

  • 88% see cost as being the major risk of electrifying a mine site;
  • 63% report that risk aversion is holding back the implementation of electrification technologies;
  • 18% are willing to accept increased risk in asset design to increase financial returns; and
  • 41% are primarily focusing their innovation efforts on energy.

The report authors say the industry should focus on collaborating to overcome the barriers that are beyond the capacity of any one individual company to address, with such efforts requiring the mobilisation of policy makers, miners, service companies, investors and researchers in order to achieve the scale, capital and influence to drive success.

Of survey respondents:

  • The preferred partnering approach for achieving breakthrough innovations is collaborating with selected partners (65%);
  • The majority believe the best way the government can support innovation is through regulation and collaboration (#1 and #2, respectively);
  • 85% believe broad industry standards for battery types are required.
  • 52% see miners as the biggest group driving investment in electrification followed by suppliers and investors (39% and 38%, respectively); and
  • 60% believe the industry should focus its health risk innovation on airborne particulates.

Cat to use NMG’s Matawinie graphite mine as ‘zero-emission machine’ testbed

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Caterpillar have signed an agreement pursuant to which Caterpillar will develop, test and produce Cat® “zero-emission machines” for the Matawinie graphite mine, in Quebec, Canada, with a view to becoming the exclusive supplier of an all-electric mining fleet for deployment at the mine by 2028.

Looking to accelerate and tailor the equipment development, Caterpillar will engage with Nouveau Monde’s team to incorporate “voice of customer” throughout the development, and for testing of the zero-emission fleet and infrastructure prior to commercial production, the companies said.

To this point, Caterpillar has only disclosed the development of a battery-electric 15 t LHD, the R1700 XE, however it came to light just over a year ago that the OEM was working on a separate project called ‘Project Verde’.

Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, Caterpillar Inc, previously stated on Project Verde: “Caterpillar has responded to customers by launching a project that is focused on energy and emissions reduction, and helping customers decrease their carbon footprints through machinery and power solutions that contribute to lower greenhouse gas.”

Speaking about the latest agreement between NMG and Cat, Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, commented: “I recall our first meeting with Caterpillar some two years ago, outlining our vision of a zero-emission mine in Québec. Our commitment to this vision has taken us to this very important moment, not only for Nouveau Monde, but for the global mining industry as a whole. Today, alongside Caterpillar, which in my opinion is the most trusted and reputable supplier of heavy-mining equipment worldwide, we can bring the zero-emission machines vision into reality.

“I think it is remarkable that Nouveau Monde, as a representative for the new style green resources industry, is part of spearheading the electrification of the industry, by collaborating with Caterpillar.”

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “We are proud to be a driving force for our peers as we strive to electrify our operations to meet our carbon neutrality commitments while maintaining the productivity and efficiency standards of our mining operations. Even more gratifying and important to our corporate mission is that our project can serve as a springboard for the future of the mining industry by collaborating with Caterpillar on these cutting-edge technologies.”

Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President, said: “The collaboration between Caterpillar and Nouveau Monde marks an important milestone in the mining industry. Through integrated technology, machines and services, the entire Caterpillar team is proud to support Nouveau Monde as they work towards constructing and establishing their first zero-emission mine.”

In November last year, NMG issued an “international call for pre-qualification” related to the fleet and charging infrastructure at Matawinie following work by the company’s International Task Force Committee. This work had allowed Nouveau Monde to explore “technologies, best practices and operational parameters to bring its vision to life in a cost-effective and technologically advanced way”.

As part of this pre-qualification program, companies were able to submit detailed proposals and performance specifications from their production equipment solutions between November 30 and January 30, 2021.

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc – both companies in Nouveau Monde’s taskforce committee – came up with the fleet outline at Matawinie.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” the report read.

The mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was also expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Glencore’s CSA mine set to use Epiroc ST14 Battery LHD

Glencore is to introduce a new battery-electric LHD from Epiroc at its CSA copper mine in Cobar, New South Wales, as it looks to reduce diesel emissions and energy costs, plus improve operator safety and productivity performance at the operation.

The ST14 Battery loader will be one of the first of its kind to be used anywhere in the world, Glencore said, with the mine’s operators set to start using it later this month.

These 14 t payload battery-electric loaders have also been used at Agnico Eagle’s Kittila gold mine in northern Finland as part of the SIMS project, while LKAB is looking to use one of the units at its main Kiruna iron ore mine for production and in the Konsuln test mine, both in Sweden. Boliden, meanwhile, has been testing an ST14 Battery at its Kristineberg underground copper-zinc mine in the country.

In the Americas, Vale is set for the delivery of four Scooptram ST14 Battery loaders at its Canada underground mines as part of a 2020 agreement with Epiroc, while Codelco, in 2020, said it would soon start testing one of these units in Chile.

CSA is one of Australia’s deepest underground mines and produces about 50,000 t/y of copper in concentrates. The battery-electric loader is set to transport thousands of tonnes of ore and waste per day, operating at a depth of almost 2 km underground, Glencore said.

“The copper we produce at CSA Mine is a key enabler of the low carbon economy, and is an essential commodity that goes into electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy technologies like wind turbines and solar panels,” Peter Christen, General Manager of Glencore’s CSA Mine, said.

“We are committed to reducing emissions across our own operations and our investment in the ST14 Battery Loader is an important step in the broader transformation of mining in a low carbon future.”

BluVein charges into mine electrification space

BluVein, armed with its “dynamic charging” philosophy, is pitching a different option to miners looking to electrify their underground operations over the long term.

While battery-electric machines such as light utility vehicles, mobile mining support equipment, and low-to-medium tonnage LHDs and trucks have spread throughout major mining hubs like North America, Europe and Australia, the next step is electrifying the machines with the heaviest duties in the underground mining space.

If the sector settles for battery-electric options in this weight class for uphill haulage scenarios, they will need to leverage bigger batteries, more battery swapping or some additional charging infrastructure to power vehicles up ramp.

Two of the leading mining OEMs in the electrification space are considering all the above.

Sandvik, through its wholly owned Artisan Vehicles subsidiary, is developing a 65 t payload battery-electric haul truck with a bigger battery than its 50-t vehicle (the Z50) that will see quick battery swapping employed on uphill hauls, while Epiroc is weighing the potential of fully-electric operation with a battery and trolley combination in its larger payload class trucks.

BluVein is intent on laying the groundwork for multiple OEMs and mining companies to play in this 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 underground 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 Rail™ and Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

This flexible technology is set for a trial later this year, with the company – a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek – already busy behind the scenes enlisting a number of funding partners to push forward with a collaborative pilot aimed at demonstrating the next generation of trolley assist technology.

With this aim in mind and knowledge of previous trolley projects at underground mines, IM put some questions to BluVein Founder, James Oliver.

IM: What input does Olitek provide within BluVein? Do they produce customised prototype battery-electric machines?

JO: BluVein is a new company formed through a partnership between EVIAS and Olitek. While we are a new venture, unlike traditional start-ups, BluVein is backed by two highly experienced long-standing companies and is seeking to enable the fully-electric mine of today.

The biggest need for electric mining vehicles is in heavy-duty load and haul applications on inclined roads. In this instance, batteries on their own are not up to the task – not even close. Dynamic charging is the game-changing technology that will enable fully-electric heavy-duty load and haul on inclined roads.

In the partnership, Olitek provides the mobile vehicle, robotics, electrical and mining environment expertise to enable BluVein to operate safely and reliably in a mining environment. BluVein is currently working with a number of mining vehicle OEMs to integrate the BluVein system to suit their on-board battery and motor architecture, enabling safe dynamic charging from a standardised slotted rail system.

The joint venture does not produce customised prototype battery-electric vehicles or battery machines, and we are vehicle OEM-agnostic; we are open to working with any battery-electric vehicle manufacturer enabling standardised dynamic charging.

IM: What companies are involved in the collaboration mentioned? What is the aim of this collaboration (timelines, goals, etc)?

JO: Currently we are not able to disclose which mining companies and vehicle OEMs we are working with – it will be revealed in the not-too-distant future. They are, however, a selection of very well-known major companies from Sweden, Canada and Australia. We are open to other like-minded, early adopters to join the BluVein collaboration.

Our aim is to commence building our industry-backed technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia, by late 2021 in a simulated underground environment. This will involve a section of BluVein rail and at least one electric vehicle fitted with the BluVein hammer system to demonstrate dynamic charging whilst hauling loaded up an incline.

IM: What are your overhead systems (BluVein Rail) providing that your typical underground trolley systems are not providing? How does the infrastructure required compare with, say, what Vale has in place at Creighton and Coleman in Sudbury for its Kiruna trucks?

JO: Existing trolley assist systems that utilise exposed high voltage conductors cannot be used in many mining jurisdictions globally due to safety concerns and an inability to comply with mining regulations. This is particularly the case in underground mines where clearance above mobile fleets is limited. The BluVein rail system is unique as all high voltage conductors are safely housed within ingress protection (IP) rated slots. This effectively mitigates against risks of accidental contact by mining personnel or the vehicles.

The safe and standardised systems allow for the charging of a vehicle’s batteries whilst simultaneously powering the electric-drive motors. This gives a battery-electric vehicle almost unlimited range and eliminates the requirement for battery swapping, downtime and charge bay infrastructure requirements.

Volvo FMX Electric with BluVein

And BluVein Rail does not need to be installed in all parts of the mine – only in the heavy-duty cycle zones such as mine declines and pit ramps. When tramming/hauling on flat gradients, mining vehicles operate on their own internal batteries. This dramatically reduces the system installation complexity and installation cost. Where the BluVein Rail terminates, the vehicle automatically disconnects and reverts to its on-board batteries for power, without stopping.

Ease of maintenance is one of our focus points for BluVein. The BluVein system is developed to handle typical mining drive terrain conditions so no special maintenance is required to cater for conductor contact relative to the vehicle. Our BluVein Hammer, an all-terrain trolley, takes care of this. This provides the connection between the mobile machinery and the BluVein slotted rail. As the vehicle moves through an inclined underground tunnel or along a pit ramp, the Hammer maintains the electrical connection even over rough road conditions. Operator assist controls, such as smart auto connect and disconnect functionality, are also incorporated.

BluVein is the ‘next generation’ of trolley assist technology with all the benefits and none of the negatives of the old systems.

IM: How long and steep an uphill climb is required, on average, to make the business case work in the favour of BluVein technology over your typical battery-only system? When does the TCO equation tip in favour of your solutions over other trolley systems on the market?

JO: Typical battery systems are super high cost when you consider the full impact of charge bay infrastructure, numerous large operating batteries per vehicle and rapid battery life decay. BluVein, however, has a relatively low capital cost in comparison as it enables smaller, lighter and lower power on-board batteries to be used that never require swapping or static charging.

Therefore, from day one, the TCO for BluVein will likely be favourable compared to typical battery-only systems, regardless of haul length.

IM: Are BluVein Hammer or BluVein Rail already installed at mine sites around the world? What models of machines have they been integrated on?

JO: The underlying technology for the BluVein Rail and Hammer has been developed over the past 11 years with EVIAS for electrified highways. BluVein is the adaptation of this technology specific to the harsh conditions found within mining.

The BluVein system has been designed to suit nearly all current mining battery-electric vehicles so that a single BluVein Rail installed in a mine can power the entire fleet, even if that fleet is comprised of mixed OEM machinery.

A working EVIAS system has been installed in an open highway setting in Sweden, but no mining applications exist at this point. As mentioned, BluVein will have a pilot site underway by the end of 2021.

IM: Given a Volvo TA15 all-electric hauler is pictured on your website, are you also working with open-pit miners on this collaboration?

JO: BluVein is not just suited to underground applications, however, initially that is the focus given the urgency around eradicating diesel emissions and particulate matter and its carcinogenic properties.

BluVein pilot site concept – simulated underground

BluVein has strong application in open-pit mining and in quarry environments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve productivity and costs. The technology can leverage all the same advantages seen underground in open-pit applications. The bonus with underground is we have free infrastructure to hang the rail from.

A number of our partner mining companies are assessing the BluVein system for both surface and underground deployments.

Epiroc to acquire Meglab as part of battery-electric mining equipment push

Epiroc has agreed to acquire Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, as it looks to further support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles.

Meglab, based in Val-D’Or, Quebec, Canada, is a technology integrator that designs, manufactures, installs and supports practical and cost-effective electrification and telecommunications infrastructure solutions to customers in several countries. Its products and solutions include system design, substations, switchgears and automation system solutions, enabling the infrastructure needed for mine electrification and equipment charging solutions, as well as for digitalisation and automation of operations, Epiroc says. It has more than 240 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about C$49 million ($39 million).

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Epiroc is proud to be the leader in providing battery-electric vehicles for the mining industry, improving customers’ work environment and lowering their emissions while increasing their productivity. The acquisition of Meglab will strengthen our capacity to provide the infrastructure required as mines transition to battery-electric vehicles.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the June quarter, with the purchase price not material relative to Epiroc’s market capitalisation, the mining OEM said. The business will become part of Epiroc’s Parts & Services division and will continue to be based in Canada.

In a separate release, Meglab said the two comapanies collective goal is to develop the mine of the future, with the organisations pooling its respective assets and expertise in pursuit of this target.

“Together, we will position ourselves as the leaders of all-electric and intelligent mines,” it said. “This synergy will provide various growth opportunities worldwide, both for Meglab and for the team members that will collaborate with their co-workers in this new expanded team.”

Mine Master testing new battery-electric bolter at KGHM Lubin

Mine Master has hopped on-board the mine electrification train, announcing the release of its first electric bolter for underground mining.

The Roof Master 1.8KE has started working at KGHM’s Lubin polymetallic mine in Poland, the equipment maker said.

Designed to work in galleries from 3 m to 5.8 m in height, the bolter is equipped with a 1.8 m mechanised bolting mast for nine bolts.

The 120 kWh sodium-nickel battery installed on board can be recharged by using the existing mine power network in the 500-1,000 V range, Mine Master said. For this purpose, a battery charger is built onto the machine chassis, with energy recuperation also possible during downhill tramming.

In addition, the bolter is equipped with a closed air-conditioned operator’s cabin, Mine Master said.

“The battery-electric solution will help the mine to reduce gas emissions, improve safety and ease maintenance,” Mine Master explained.

Fortescue to test battery-electric, fuel cell tech in prototype 240 t haul truck

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed it is in the process of developing an in-house, non-diesel 240 t haul truck prototype that will test both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric drivetrain technology in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Speaking at its Investor and Media Day on Wednesday, Fortescue Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, said the two-phase project would “offer a step-change opportunity to reduce our emissions”.

He explained: “With around a quarter of Fortescue’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions attributable to our mobile haul fleet, this is a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to net-zero operational emissions.”

The drivetrain of the 240 t prototype truck will be powered by the company’s integrated renewable energy network, he added.

Phase one of the project will see a battery-electric powertrain on-board the prototype truck tested and trialled, from an operational perspective, in the Pilbara. Phase two of the project will consider hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, Lilleyman added. The drivetrains will have the capacity to regenerate power on downhill haulage.

While no specific timeline was provided for the project, the company did say the program schedule was targeted to align with the replacement cycle of the company’s existing haul trucks.

Kirkland Lake Gold to trial battery-powered Sandvik LH518B at Fosterville

Kirkland Lake Gold, one of the leaders in battery-electric vehicle adoption in mining, is to trial a Sandvik LH518B LHD next year at its Fosterville underground mine, in Victoria, Australia, Rob McLean, the operation’s Chief Mining Engineer, has confirmed.

Speaking during a session titled: ‘What are Fosterville’s Current and Future Technology and Innovation Requirements, and Why?’ at the IMARC Online event, McLean said the trial is part of the company’s vision to “have a fully electric mine”, with the immediate goals being to remove diesel emissions and reduce heat at the operation.

Longer-term, electrifying the company’s fleet could result in the need for less ventilation, lower power costs and the elimination of infrastructure upgrades at the high-grade gold operation, he said.

Sandvik launched the 18 t battery-electric LH518B during its Innovation in Mining event in late September.

The loader, a Sandvik and Artisan Vehicle Systems joint development effort, has been designed from the ground up, entirely around the loader’s Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to best leverage the possibilities the battery technology brings, Sandvik says. It can fit in a 4.5 x 4.5 m tunnel and is equipped with three 2,000 Nm permanent magnet motors and 450 kN of tractive effort. It can operate at speeds of up to 30 km/h and has 560 kW of continuous power output (peak power output of 660 kW).

McLean said the trial of the LH518B would inform the mine’s future electrification direction, but he said the company was also considering the use of battery-electric or trolley assist trucks at the operation, in addition to battery-electric charging/spraying rigs.

Kirkland Lake says its Macassa mine, in Ontario, Canada, is a “world leader in the use of battery-powered equipment” with more than 80% of its fleet made up of battery-powered vehicles from the likes of Artisan, Epiroc and RDH Scharf.