IMARC 2023 is off to a bang, with two of the first keynote interviews – featuring speakers from Fortescue and BHP – kicking off what is expected to be a constant flurry of mining technology news.
During a Mining Keynote Interview, titled, ‘The Reshaping of the Fortescue Business: A Showcase of the Past, Present and Future of the Mining and Resources’ Industry,’ Dino Otranto (pictured on the right), CEO of Fortescue, talked up the mining company’s ‘Real Zero’ terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) 2030 aim.
Speaking to Jennifer Hewett (pictured on the left), National Affairs Columnist, The Australian Financial Review, Otranto highlighted the recent arrival of the first 240-t-class Liebherr Mining T 264 trucks at its Eliwana iron ore mining site in the Pilbara of Western Australia, which is expected to be converted to Fortescue’s in-house battery solution developed by WAE in the near term.
Looking further out, Otranto said the company’s first zero emission fleet at Eliwana was expected to be “on parity” with the diesel haulage equivalent from a cost and productivity perspective. “In the future, they could be even more productive,” he added.
Fortescue is currently working on a number of “zero emission” solutions across its mining operations – battery-electric and green hydrogen, among them – and Otranto said the company was confident that the electric powertrain is “the future”, with the system that generates the power to supply this being “agnostic”.
“In the future, we will not be beholden by the OEM and a single product,” he said, explaining that the captive energy source tied to where the resources and reserves were located would play a crucial role in the chosen system.
Soon after Otranto left the stage, Hewett was joined by James Agar, Group Procurement Officer at BHP, for another keynote interview, titled ‘The Importance of Supplier and Community Partnerships to Create Value’.
Agar was quick to pick up from where Otranto left off, referencing the company’s own zero-emission haulage plans, which included the expected rollout of a zero emissions truck at its operations next year. The company has previously signalled that a Cat Early Learner battery truck could come arrive for trials at its operations in 2024.
Alongside this, Agar referenced ongoing work with Bridgestone and Michelin related to battery-electric haul truck developments.
“We have realised that if we reduce the rolling resistance of tyres by 1-2%, it can have a big impact on battery life,” he said. “Equally, these trucks are going to be able to travel at faster speeds, so tyre life will be affected. This is another area we are studying.”