Tag Archives: BEVs

Sandvik and Northern College to help train BEV service technicians of the future

Sandvik and Ontario’s Northern College have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to, they say, work collaboratively to enhance existing battery technician training modules, and develop a new program to educate service technicians and support the growing requirement for specialised battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technicians in the mining industry.

The Northern College Battery Electric Vehicle Technician training program for service technicians should prepare them for employment in this field.

BEVs are increasing in popularity in the Canadian mining industry due to the improvements they offer in operating environments, maintenance costs, efficiency and productivity, yet specialised BEV technicians are required to support the growing fleet of BEVs in Canada.

“It’s important to be aware of the fact that the technology powering battery-electric vehicles is considerably different than that of diesel machines,” Dr Audrey J Penner, President and CEO of Northern College, said of the new technology.

“Servicing and maintaining these fleets requires a different skillset than what is required for a diesel-powered fleet because BEVs have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components. For that reason, the Canadian mining industry requires a new generation of service technicians who are trained in servicing electrically-powered machinery and Northern College is responding to that call for talent and training.”

Northern College and the Haileybury School of Mines will develop a program with Sandvik and their partners to educate participants in BEV technology. Sandvik will serve as a subject matter expert on the topic of BEVs in a mining application to ensure program graduates are educated in areas relevant for the mining industry.

Peter Corcoran, Vice President Canada, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry while also supporting resource development in the communities close to the mines using BEV technology.

“We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in the BEV field as more operations transition to zero-emissions equipment. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated. This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

One industry proponent of BEVs in mining is Kirkland Lake Gold, which has deployed many battery-powered units at its Macassa gold mine in Ontario.

“Using BEVs at our Macassa Mine benefits us in a number of ways, including significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving working conditions and reducing capital requirements for ventilation,” Evan Pelletier, Kirkland Lake Gold’s Vice President of Mining, said.

Pelletier explains that Kirkland Lake Gold was among the first to bring electrification to the mining industry and the company has seen significant improvements in BEV technology in a relatively short timeframe.

Based on Kirkland Lake’s experience, Pelletier believes the participation of both original equipment manufacturer and mining companies in the development of a technician training program will be an important contributor to the program’s success.

“Working with colleges will help Kirkland Lake Gold further develop our technicians in this field,” Pelletier explains. “The program will not only develop new technicians, it will help to establish BEV standards in the industry that will lead the way for future advancements.”

Cambrian college to offer battery-electric vehicle training course

Cambrian College, in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, is trying to equip miners with the relevant skills to facilitate the sector’s electrification transition by offering a new Corporate Training course focused on battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

The BEV training course is being delivered by Cambrian’s Corporate Training division in partnership with the College’s Centre for Smart Mining – part of Cambrian R&D, the college’s applied research division. The course is designed specifically for heavy-duty equipment technicians employed in the mining sector.

The use of industrial BEVs is increasing in modern mining and the industry needs skilled workers to implement and maintain this new technology, the college said.

“Cambrian’s latest Corporate Training course will ensure those employees already working in mining can obtain that expertise and qualifications in Greater Sudbury,” it said.

Stephen Gravel, Manager of Cambrian R&D’s Centre for Smart Mining, said: “An often overlooked, yet critical component in the adoption of new techniques and technologies in the mining sector is ensuring the workforce is adequately trained.

“A major barrier to getting new technologies like BEVs into mines is the lack of familiarity and comfort among heavy-duty equipment technicians in the field. The Centre for Smart Mining is looking to address this problem through targeted technology upskilling in a number of important high-tech areas; the first of which being BEVs.”

The course begins online shortly and will be led by a qualified instructor, Cambrian College said. On-campus in-person learning opportunities are expected to be available in the future as activities fully resume on the college’s campus. Those looking to upgrade their skillset will gain much needed industry knowledge, Cambrian College says, through four modules:

  • Fundamentals of Battery Electric Vehicle Safety;
  • Introduction to Battery Electric Mobile Equipment;
  • Introduction to Battery Electric Vehicle Communication and Troubleshooting; and
  • Practical Battery Electric Vehicle Training.

“At Cambrian, we’re committed to keeping up with the latest industry trends and making sure our courses are meeting demands in real time,” Cambrian College’s President, Bill Best, said. “The advancements in mining, especially with innovation and the shift to battery-electric vehicles, is just one area where we are the premier destination for those looking to upgrade their skills to be ready for the jobs that just didn’t exist a few short years ago.”

Battery-electric vehicles dominate in GMG Electric Mine project survey

A survey aimed at defining priorities for the GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project has highlighted that despite the rise of other diesel-alternative technologies, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to be the area of focus for the mine electrification community.

Respondents to the survey were asked about what types of equipment to prioritise, with haul trucks and LHD trucks coming up top out of all equipment and BEVs topping the results when it came to electric equipment types.

In terms of the latter, BEVs beat off competition from hydrogen fuel cells, trolley assist systems and tethered equipment, commanding more than three quarters of the votes.

GMG remarked: “Some commentators noted that this will be different depending on underground or open pit (eg BEVs underground, trolley for open pit), so this result may be skewed due to the large representation of underground mining in the survey.”

In the survey, performance was noted as the highest priority in terms of types of information that will provide value, GMG said.

However, the results of the workshops held under the project identified that there would be certain types of information that can be used to provide value in overlapping areas (eg they may help operations make performance comparisons and also identify operational or maintenance needs).

Highlights include:

  • Information about the daily cycle and time usage in comparison to diesel;
  • Identifying what information should be available in real time;
  • Information or metrics for comparing charging strategies;
  • Information for assessing and updating charging infrastructure;
  • Training information for operators, safety personnel and maintenance technicians; and
  • Information on heat generation.

And the following priorities were identified in the survey and workshops when it came to the uses of this information:

  • Understanding capital and operating costs;
  • Developing the business case;
  • Developing a charging philosophy and strategy;
  • Understanding safety requirements and improving safety; and
  • Understanding infrastructure, design and planning requirements.

The GMG noted: “These results may be influenced by the higher representation of underground mining professionals and that 64% of respondents are North American and similar representation at the workshops.”

The survey was open between April and June 2020 with 95 respondents (as of June 9). Underground mining was more heavily represented than surface, but many respondents specialised in both, according to GMG. Professionals (engineers, geologists, metallurgists, etc) were the most highly represented (26%) while corporate senior management (17%) and corporate technology leaders (17%) were also well represented.

The GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project aims to create a neutral platform to capture performance data for electric surface and underground equipment based on the industry’s knowledge and experience, GMG says.

CEMI to bolster underground mining network with help of Mayhew Performance

Canada’s national Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) has welcomed Mike Mayhew’s Mayhew Performance Ltd as a CEMI Associate.

Mike Mayhew and Mayhew Performance bring over 28 years of mining experience and a wide network across Canada to CEMI, the centre said.

“In particular, CEMI will leverage Mayhew Performance Ltd’s network and underground operations industry connections,” CEMI said. “Mayhew Performance Ltd has a proven track record of bringing to market small to medium sized enterprises driving innovation in the areas of battery-electric vehicles all the way to adoption by mining companies.”

Mayhew Performance is currently working with Stacktronic to repurpose and electrify a personnel carrier for use in the underground mining sector ahead of the MINExpo conference in September.

Mike Mayhew said: “I am excited to be part of the CEMI Associate team as we continue to expand battery-electric vehicles to achieve my personal goal of ‘zero emissions’ in underground mining. The CEMI team offers a solid platform and a wide range of industry experience, knowledge and skills that complement Mayhew Performance Ltd as a strategic partner.”

Charles Nyabeze, VP Business Development and Commercialisation at CEMI, said: “Onboarding organisations like Mayhew Performance Ltd into our network allows CEMI to increase its capacity to better serve the global mining innovation and technology development ecosystem. In addition, CEMI believes in leveraging local assets. We see Mayhew Performance LTD as a strategic addition to how we deliver value to all our clients.”

Rokion battery-powered vehicles hit new depths at Vale Creighton

As Vale continues to go deeper at its Creighton nickel mine, in Sudbury, Canada, it is adopting alternatives to its fleet of diesel-powered haulage, loading and utility vehicles in a bid to lower operating costs and improve environmental conditions for personnel that could eventually be working nearly 3 km underground.

Vale’s PowerShift strategy, part of the miner’s 2030 sustainability goals, aims to make the company’s energy matrix “clean” by focusing on the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels, greater efficiency of operations using new technologies, and forest promotion. As part of this strategy, it will test and adopt existing ‘green’ solutions as well as develop technologies with the potential for greater impact on its carbon footprint.

This has involved the use of Rokion’s battery-powered personnel carriers/utility vehicles at Creighton.

The company has been working with Rokion for close to two years after placing an order for three of its vehicles for the Creighton mine. Alongside these vehicles are other battery-powered haul trucks, loaders and production support machines supplied by the likes of Epiroc and MacLean Engineering. All these machines are being added to the fleet as the company looks to access deeper, more ventilation-constrained areas of the mine.

Todd Van Den Enden, Process Superintendent at Creighton Mine, told IM recently that the Rokion R100, R200 and R400 units had been “very well received at Creighton Mine” and the company had moved forward in purchasing more of these units to further its battery-electric vehicle development at the operation.

The units are currently used by Vale’s service groups – such as industrial mechanics, electrical and planning departments – and generally run for the entirety of a 10.5-hour shift.

The ramps at Creighton, which go from 15-20% on both the incline and decline, according to Van Den Enden, will aid the continual operation of these battery-powered machines. Equipped with lithium-iron phosphate battery technology, the Rokion units recharge their batteries on descent thanks to regenerative braking. This translates to not only a longer operating time without charge, but also greater savings per vehicle over the life of the mine, according to Rokion.

Rokion trucks can navigate mine sites with 20% grade at a full gross vehicle weight and full speed while traveling more than 70 km per charge, according to the company. This is more than enough to get through a full shift without charging.

This means the vehicles are typically only charged after the 10.5-hour shift is complete at Creighton, according to Van Den Enden. The larger R400 (pictured), which includes a six- to 12-passenger crew truck and a three- to nine-passenger utility option, has completed two shifts on a single charge during testing.

When charging is required, the Rokion units can rely on existing mine power infrastructure, with the charging procedure no different to the way people top up the charge on their Tesla vehicles, Rokion says. The company worked within the Global Mining Guidelines Groups’ BEV guidelines to design this standardised system.

Vale’s Van Den Enden said the operation of both the R100, which includes a four-passenger crew truck and two-passenger utility truck option, and the R200, which has a four-passenger crew truck and two-passenger utility truck option, has “exceeded our expectations”.

He explained: “We have roughly 1,200 hours on these units and we see advantages with the availability.”

While availability is a key selling point, Rokion says its battery-powered vehicles have been designed for simple and easy maintenance. The modular change-out options – which extend to both the battery and drive system – are “ideal for remote mining locations where the priority is to have dedicated service personnel with expertise in production mining equipment”.

Rokion explained: “A mine is not going to hire an expert in battery power when introducing a new truck such as this, so we take that aspect out of the equation, compartmentalising our battery systems into a modular form so that they can be easily switched out.”

Mine operators can visualise the operation of their vehicle assets by accessing a live fleet management system that streams data between the truck and site operations team, according to Rokion. This helps customers identify vehicles that are low on power or may need servicing. Customers also have the option of having this data routed to Rokion for additional support, the company says.

“Managing this data into useful information has become a valuable tool in helping to improve operational efficiencies for our customers,” the company said.

While there is the very real prospect of Rokion selling more units to Vale’s Creighton operation, it is also working with the miner on refining its latest R400 unit, which, it says, was engineered to be the company’s most adaptive and modular truck platform.

Van Den Enden said the R400 unit was just finishing up the testing phase with the Creighton mining department, with the machine having performed well. He said the two firms were currently working on a “minor update” for the next series of this unit.