Tag Archives: Caterpillar

Elphinstone and Finning partner on range of UG mining support vehicles, including BEVs

Elphinstone says it has partnered with Caterpillar dealer, Finning, to provide a diverse range of underground mining support vehicles to suit the mining application.

With sustainability at the forefront of clients’ minds, Elphinstone has begun developing a suite of battery-electric support vehicles for underground hard-rock mining to address the increasing decarbonisation efforts and expectations of its global customer base.

This will allow Finning and Elphinstone to support their clients in achieving their ESG targets, Elphinstone said.

Elphinstone said earlier this year that it was working on delivering its first battery-powered underground support machine prototype by March 2024, thanks, in part, to a grant from the Australian Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative. The company confirmed the battery-electric solution would be for the WR810 underground service vehicle platform and “Next Gen” underground grader (graphic above).

Finning is an authorised dealer for the Elphinstone UG product line including the UG20M Grader and the WR810 Series comprising a Delivery with Crane, Water Cannon, Fuel & Lube, 6m3 Agitator and Scissor Lift.

The WR810 Series is optioned with a Tier 4 Final version of the Cat C7.1 engine to align with Canadian emission standards, Elphinstone says. The operator cabin is designed to seat three people in comfort with exceptional visibility, the company added. In the working environment a three-seater cabin allows for the complete crew to go collectively rather than deploying an additional light vehicle for personnel transport.

The partnership could see an exciting new line up from Elphinstone with the trusted service, warranty, parts and support from Finning, Elphinstone says.

Caterpillar reduces TCO, improves availability on electric rope shovels

Caterpillar says it has carried out multiple design enhancements to the lower structures on its Cat® 7495 and 7495 HF Electric Rope Shovel (ERS) models that increase machine reliability and significantly lower overall total cost of ownership.

These upgrades cover the track (crawler) frames, swing rack and rollers, propel gearboxes and rotating undercarriage.

Combined, the design advancements can improve total cost of ownership by up to 6% per operating hour and improve physical availability of the ERS by up to 0.63%, Caterpillar claims. All updates are found on current-year models and can be retrofitted independently in the field to allow existing customers to realise the gains.

Starting with the track roller frame where a re-engineered bolt-on design for track link sliders eliminates the need for casting welds. This sees Cat rope shovel customers benefitting from an up to a 22% cost-per-hour reduction with extended wear life and no maintenance. At the same time, integral wear indicators provide visual reference to help service technicians plan for slider maintenance.

Track frame life is enhanced with increased frame thickness, lowering stress in the plate for improved reliability. A new super bolt arrangement features shorter middle bolts, improving joint stiffness and maintaining pre-load. Access for cleanout has been improved with a three-hole track frame bell housing, Caterpillar says.

Distributing shovel weight more evenly to the crawler side frame, the updated tapered shear ledge reduces end loading as the ERS pitches forward during digging. New lower side frame stiffeners maintain increased track clearance to the tracks, while improving rock protection.

Saving approximately 100 hours of field assembly time, the bolt-on motor base eliminates field welding and improves motor bolt access, according to the company. Set screws simplify locating the base on the crawler and simplify motor alignment.

The swing rack on the ERS absorbs the stress from every load.

The 7495 and 7495 HF models now have a single-piece swing rack casting (below) that eliminates previous vertical welds to improve ERS durability. The number of core holes have been reduced from 20 to four, positioned strategically in low-stress areas of the swing frame and located out-board to increase web strength. Improvements to the weld joint between the swing rack and car body further reduce stress, Caterpillar says.

An updated single-piece roller path increases roller life and eliminates seams to improve ride and prevent rollers from coming loose. Five symmetrical roller segments are now pre-assembled, improving alignment quality and installation efficiency, it says. The upgraded thrust rail design improves access for inspection and retightening, while adding support to the thrust rail during operation.

The redesigned propel system on the 7495 and 7495 HF models eliminates the need to remove the propel transmission when servicing the drive tumbler and propel shaft, since they are now replaced from the out-board side of the machine. This significantly improves serviceability of the drive, decreases maintenance downtime by as much as 75% and lowers operating costs by as much as 10% versus the previous design, according to Caterpillar. The component’s design updates extend rebuild life to up to 30,000 hours.

Sealed and continuously lubricated tapered roller bearings more evenly distribute thrust to improve propel durability, while fresh grease flows equally through both sets of bearings, eliminating potential contamination from bearing surfaces, the company says. Propel gearcase metallurgy has been optimised to improve toughness, while improved microgeometry enhances gear mesh to reduce contact wear, it added.

Compatible with all ERS machines equipped with 2,006-mm track pads, a new track pad design improves structural support and steel chemistry, while a proprietary heat treatment process increases hardness by 15% and toughness by 30% to improve roller path and drive lug wear, according to Caterpillar.

The track pin design features improved alloy composition and higher toughness. A new track pin removal pocket for 7495 HF models offers an easy-to-use pin removal solution that features a weld-free integrated vertical surface to keep the cylinder stabilised during pin removal.

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and Caterpillar deploy tele-remote dozing system at iron ore ops

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and Caterpillar have embarked on a project to deploy a new tele-remote dozing system (TDS) at Rio’s iron ore operations in Western Australia that, they say, is wholly focused on operator safety.

Utilising Cat MineStar Command for Dozing and a dedicated operator control centre, Rio Tinto’s solution allows for non-line of sight operation of dozers working in high-risk areas.

Rio Tinto Superintendent Process and Technical, Michelle Woolcock, says the overarching brief was to effectively manage potential safety risks associated with dozers working in areas that were more susceptible to risk.

“The brief was to take the operator out of the line of fire,” Woolcock said. “In particular, the focus was to reduce the risk of operators being in machines that faced a risk of slipping or stability issues, for example when they were working on stockpiles or close to steep walls.”

There are multiple layers of technology and control options involved in the solution, depending on client and site-specific requirements.

Caterpillar Senior Service Engineer, Steve Dougherty, explained: “To start, you need the base remote-control kit. There are different kits available for each machine size. If you wanted to do some basic remote-control work, there’s a kit that includes a console receiver, which is a dedicated wireless link installed on top of the cab.

“There’s a Remote Control Module (RCM) that gets installed under the seat and interfaces with all the base machine functions, and the associated wiring and Wi-Fi network to allow the various parts to communicate.”

The solution includes options for controlling machines within visual range, consisting of an over-the-shoulder console and a dedicated network, which Dougherty says is typically suited to operators needing to perform temporary or one-off, high-risk applications.

“You could run that way all day if you wanted to, but the units are set up with dead-man switches so are really designed for things like machine recovery,” he explained.

“For more long-term applications, like the one that Rio Tinto is rolling out, we set up an operator station which looks very much like a simulator with all the in-cab controls replicated. It can still be run as a line-of-sight solution, but more typically customers opt for the vision kit, which adds four cameras on board the dozer and utilises a customer-supplied Wi-Fi network to relay all of that machine information and the video feeds to the operator station, wherever it may be located.”

While Dougherty says the remote station solution can allow a single operator to control up to five machines at one time in some circumstances, such as strip mining operations, Rio Tinto’s solution is purely designed to move operators into a safer, more comfortable operating environment.

Rio Tinto Superintendent Operational Readiness, Jamie Webster, says the initial rollout of the TDS at the Cape Lambert Port facility, north east of Karratha, is focused on high-risk operations on coarse ore stockpiles with steep gradients and “live” areas where ore is fed into underground tunnels.

“Safety is the number one priority at all Rio Tinto sites and for all employees,” Webster says.

“The message at all levels is that safety always comes first. Every single person on site, from leaders to cleaners, are empowered to stop if they ever feel unsafe and we always look at ways to improve processes so that no one is in harm’s way.”

According to Webster, the TDS project is one such area where process improvements were identified to reduce risk.

“These dozers are operating in quite a tight area around lots of fixed assets,” he explained. “That means work is quite intricate and the real benefits will be realised in pushing ore from the stockpiles into the live zones.

“The dozers are working at the top of a large stockpile and if a dozer slips it could go down a bank, or if it’s working while the apron feeder is operating, the ground could fall away from underneath it. Obviously, we already have processes in place and technology to mitigate such risks, but putting the operators into a station away from the danger zones eliminates any potential risk to them being harmed, no matter how small that risk might be.”

While removing operators from high-risk zones is driving the rollout of the solution, Woolcock says it does not mean removing operators from site.

She says remote operators still need to be “close to the action” and have detailed site knowledge to function most effectively and efficiently. “As much as ‘non-line-of-sight’ operation sounds like it could be carried out from anywhere, the reality is that these operators are multi-tasking in their roles,” she says.

“It will depend on the state of the coarse ore stockpile and what’s coming in and going out. They need to be able to visually inspect and determine what needs to be done. They might spend an hour or two dozing then move on to other tasks while they wait for the stockpiles to be replenished.

“When you need dozer operators, you typically need all hands on deck, and when you don’t need them, if they’re sitting in a control centre hundreds of kilometres away, it’s far more difficult to stay on top of other tasks they might carry out on site.”

Woolcock and Webster admit there was some resistance among the first operators to be trained in TDS, but as they became more familiar with the solution, the operators embraced it.

“A lot of operators quite literally work the dozers through their seats,” Webster says. “They might have worked for decades and are accustomed to feeling the movement. So they’re having to relearn how to drive the dozer without that sense of movement, and they’re relying entirely on the visual feed of information rather than the other senses from being in the mobile rig.”

According to Woolcock, the key to operator acceptance has been allowing them time to use the system and understand the difference the cutting-edge technology will make.

“With the on-the-job trainers (OJTs), they were excited initially to have the chance to learn something novel,” Woolcock says.

“Once the training commenced, a lot of them got quite downhearted because as experienced dozer operators, they had the sense they were going right back to relearning all the knowledge they’d built up over years of manual operation. So they felt like they were starting the first day of school again.

“But it was very much a case of them moving through the classic stages of learning until they had a feel for it and got to that level of conscious competence.

“The transition from resistance to acceptance to championing the new way of working was amazing and I think it was because the OJTs realised they were pioneering new technology.”

Woolcock says two or three operators across each of the Cape Lambert work crews will ultimately be trained in the TDS operations, while the technology is being progressively rolled out across other Rio Tinto sites.

For WesTrac Technology General Manager, Alister MacPherson, the progressive rollout has necessitated a range of adjustments within the mining technology team and rollout methodologies. With multiple deployments, WesTrac aims to identify the repeatable parts of the process and ensure adequate resourcing to fulfil the relevant roles and responsibilities.

“We want as much as possible to roll this out as a programme of work rather than a series of individual projects,” MacPherson says.

“That means firstly ensuring we have completed the right training in areas including product management, project engineering and technical support, then developing a collaborative approach between WesTrac and Rio Tinto to ensure the program is rolled out smoothly.”

WesTrac Product Manager – Mining Technology, Gary Scott, says the Cape Lambert project provided an ideal proving ground to develop the rollout strategies that can be extended to other sites.

“Every site and situation is obviously going to have some unique aspects to it, but there is a set of core requirements that will apply across all implementations,” Scott said.

“It starts with an audit on the available machines to understand the current capabilities, then we can spec up the technology requirements to be fitted to those machines.

“Across an operation like Rio Tinto’s, we’d typically expect to see a fair bit of consistency but there may still be differences based on the age of the site and the asset maintenance and replacement schedules.

“Then when we know what has to be done, we can carry out the installation of the various control modules, the remote operator station and ensure the hardware and software is all communicating. It’s quite straightforward as far as system implementations go, but the complexities come with the detail of configuration and constraint management.”

“The system readily interacts with other Cat control systems including MineStar Terrain, so we can set up working parameters including geofencing and avoidance zones. Essentially, those things are the same whether a dozer is being controlled from in the cab or a remote operating station.”

Those operating parameters and control solutions will be vital as the TDS technology is rolled out across Rio Tinto’s mine sites, including its new Gudai-Darri mine. When production commences this year, the site will be one of the most technologically advanced mines in the world and will feature a large fleet of autonomous haul trucks, water carts and drill rigs. In such environments, any manually controlled equipment, whether in-cab or remotely operated, must be equipped to interact with autonomous machines.

While every aspect of the TDS technology and the way it interacts with other equipment is safety focused, Webster expects that in time the operations will see productivity gains too.

“There’s still a lot to understand about how we can be the most productive with this system,” he says.

“Initially, we’re probably going to be counterproductive compared to in-cab operation, but as we’re learning and developing, and as everyone becomes more familiar with the new way of operating, the added comfort and control will lead to operators being even more productive than we are today.”

Fresnillo completes conversion of Herradura haul truck fleet to Cat dual-fuel system

In its recently released 2021 financial results, Fresnillo confirmed it had completed the conversion of its haul truck fleet at the Herradura gold mine in Mexico to a dual-fuel system leveraging both diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company started its dual-fuel journey all the way back in 2016 when, together with Caterpillar, it trialled/piloted the mining OEM’s Dynamic Gas Blending™ (DGB) dual-fuel technology on two prototype trucks as part of a strategy at Herradura to reduce both its carbon footprint and costs.

Caterpillar’s dual-fuel DGB technology works by blending lower cost LNG with diesel fuel, with the resultant improvements in fuel, emissions and maintenance adding up to millions of dollars each year in cost savings, the mining OEM says.

Following some good initial results from Herradura, the company made plans to roll out this technology across its fleet, converting its haulage fleet’s diesel engines to a dual-fuel system, which optimises consumption by automatically switching between diesel and LNG depending on the terrain.

The Herradura fleet consists of Cat 785C and 793D haul trucks, among others.

A Fresnillo spokesperson told IM: “The 785C series consume approximately a 40:60 diesel-LNG mix, while the 793D has a 65:35 ratio, thus achieving, in 2021, a reduced energy factor of 20.97% and 18.68%, respectively.

“To date, we’ve recovered 35% of our investment through fuel savings, which considers both the LNG conversion kits and the biomodal supply station.”

The company has now converted 31 of its 785Cs to run on this mix, along with 10 793Ds. It has also invested in infrastructure to ensure it has the appropriate LNG storage capacity at Herradura.

Newmont’s Gosteva urges action to achieve mining industry’s decarbonisation goals

Partnerships between miners and mining equipment, technology and service (METS) providers will prove key in solving the emissions reductions and sustainability targets mining companies have set for 2030 and beyond, Victoria Gosteva, Decarbonisation Program Manager at Newmont, said at the SME MineXchange Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City today.

While outlining Newmont’s Energy & Decarbonization Program on stage, Gosteva made important statements about how the wider industry could decarbonise its operations and hit the goals it has set. Newmont, itself, has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 30% by 2030, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050.

Gosteva, urging actions over the near term, said partnerships with the METS community would be needed to set the companies on the right track to hit their sustainability goals, explaining that it was not only the technology-readiness element that needed to be addressed, but also the required infrastructure to, for example, charge electric vehicles.

“We can no longer afford to be fast followers as an industry,” she said. “There is really not that much time left to reach the 2030 targets.”

She said the investment community was also taking note of the need to decarbonise mine sites, with emissions likely to become a big contributor of company valuation metrics in the future.

Focusing on Newmont’s journey, in particular, she highlighted the $500 million the company committed over five years toward climate change initiatives back in 2020.

In addition to a number of PPA agreements looking to decarbonise the power grid of many of its remote mines, she also highlighted the 2021 signing of a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system, as well as a number of “energy efficiency” type of projects related to automation, data analytics and other projects that came under these initiatives.

Many of these projects were being helped by an enhanced investment system and process that incorporates and addresses emissions through an embedded carbon pricing mechanism. Gosteva said adding an emission calculator into these models where every project has an emission aspect in the investment review saw many of these projects develop a solid business case.

One project that has been helped by this is the strategic alliance with Caterpillar that will see the introduction of first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology and automation at the gold miner’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) and Tanami mines in the USA and Australia, respectively.

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s CC&V mine in Colorado, USA, and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

  • Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment;
  • Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery-electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Gosteva highlighted that this project – which would also see the companies work on re-using batteries for energy storage when they hit their end of life in mobile mining applications – was very important to the company achieving its goals, but acknowledged that there was no silver bullet to achieving its targets.

RCT continues to support PT Freeport Indonesia on technology journey

PT Freeport Indonesia has successfully operated one of the largest mining operations in Indonesia for decades thanks to its ability to embrace technology solutions to enhance its mining operations, smart technology specialist and Freeport supplier RCT says.

Freeport runs copper, gold and silver mines across five separate underground and surface operations in the highlands area of West Papua in Indonesia.

For over 30 years Freeport has enlisted the services of RCT to achieve its goals of making mining operations safer for workers and to optimise operations.

In the early 1990s, Freeport implemented RCT’s ControlMaster® remote control solutions across its mixed Sandvik and Wagner production mining fleet operating in the DOZ underground mine and the Grasberg open pit.

ControlMaster was the ideal solution for Freeport’s mixed mining fleet due to its ability to integrate with any machine type and grant the user effective control of the machine from a safe vantage point, according to RCT.

This has seen RCT go from supplying ControlMaster remote solutions, to performing full machine rewiring projects on-site across the underground LHD fleet. It also included deploying the ControlMaster remote control technology across the surface mining fleet, including Cat D11 and D10R dozers, and installing teleremote technology onto a Cat 994 wheel loader within the open-pit mine.

RCT has also previously commissioned ControlMaster Line-of-Sight remotes onto a variety of surface drills, including a Commando drill and Cubex drill rigs as well as a fixed position rockbreaker.

Over the years Freeport’s technology requirements have evolved and every time RCT has supplied technology in-line with changing expectations, from providing analogue communications equipment through to more current digital networks, RCT said.

At present, RCT is providing bespoke technology solutions to Freeport’s entire fleet of specialised equipment.

RCT Account Manager, Shane Smith, said the local environment presents many unique challenges and Freeport is determined to address these issues with technology, and mine in a safe way.

“Due to hazardous conditions in the underground mines, such as wet muck rushes, Freeport sought to automate water cannon trucks, mobile rockbreakers and other highly specialised equipment,” he said. “Global OEMs were not able to deliver technology to meet Freeport’s standards and so we customised our own technology to create a solution that suits their specific applications. This has been so successful that Freeport now instructs global OEMs that their machines must have an RCT solution fitted at a factory level.”

He added: “The current working relationship between Freeport and RCT is built on the foundations of many years of hard work in delivering effective automation solutions and supporting that technology.”

In 2015, Freeport asked for a RCT specialist to be deployed permanently on-site to provide a high level of support for the extensive range of automation solutions implemented across the mines.

These solutions include deploying the ControlMaster semi-autonomous technology on Cat R1700 and R2900 loaders, which can be managed by operators in Freeport’s central Remote Operation Room (ROR) on the mine’s surface.

Other projects include automating 24 chute systems spread across the Big Gossan, DOZ and DMLZ mines and relocating the chute operator from the gantry to the ROR.

Freeport has also implemented RCT’s Haul Truck Operator Assist technology to optimise underground truck loading operations.

Most recently, RCT commissioned a secondary breakage fleet at Big Gossan, including Getman and Elphinstone water cannon trucks, mobile rockbreakers and Cat skid steers. The mobile rockbreakers have been commissioned with RCT’s autonomous ControlMaster technology and enables personnel to manage machine operations from the safety of the ROR.

Smith said going forward the team will enhance the Multi Fleet Select capability, which will enable site personnel to operate multiple machine types from one Automation Centre on the mine’s surface.

“We will soon have nine new Automation Centres located in Freeport’s ROR and we will fully support local personnel in the ramping up of their autonomous fleet operations,” he said. “Freeport is at the forefront of embracing technology to enhance their mining operations and we are very pleased to support them in this journey.”

Fortescue, FFI and Progress Rail collaborate on battery-electric loco deployment

Fortescue says it is continuing to progress the decarbonisation of its locomotive fleet with the purchase of two new battery-electric locomotives from Progress Rail to transport its iron ore to port in Western Australia.

The new eight-axle locomotives will have an energy capacity of 14.5 MWh and will be manufactured at the Progress Rail facility in Sete Lagoas, Brazil.

Fortescue, in December, said it was planning to test locomotives powered solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies at its rail operations in 2022, with two four-stroke locomotives arriving at Fortescue Future Industries’ Hazelmere facility, in Western Australia. These locos will undergo further testing on the new fuel system, joining other two-stroke locomotives which underwent testing earlier in 2021.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said on the latest developments: “The purchase of these new battery-powered locomotives marks an important milestone in the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s locomotive fleet and demonstrates our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, as we diversify from a pure-play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company.

“The new locomotives will cut our emissions while also reducing our fuel costs and our overall operational expense through lower maintenance spend.

“The acquisition builds on the work being carried out by Fortescue Future Industries’ Green Team in Hazelmere to deliver locomotives operating solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies.”

Fortescue is expected to take delivery of its first battery-powered locomotive in 2023.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, added: “FFI is a key enabler of Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy. Our Green Team has made outstanding progress in their mission to transform Fortescue’s trains, trucks, ships and other mobile equipment to operate on zero pollution fuels as soon as possible, and the purchase of these new battery-powered locomotives complements this work.

“Fortescue and FFI are working together to demonstrate that renewables can power the energy needs of Australia’s mining and resources sector.”

Marty Haycraft, President & CEO of Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Fortescue team to determine the application, feasibility and suitability of battery-electric technology for deployment on their railway and to manufacture two of our BE14.5BB locomotives for this important project.

“We look forward to continuing to support our global customers with innovative products and services to help them meet their sustainability goals.”

Elphinstone sells 50th underground motor grader

Elphinstone has announced the sale of its 50th underground motor grader, designed and manufactured at the company’s facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

In 2017, Elphinstone identified an opportunity to expand its range of underground support vehicles by introducing the UG20K and UG20M haul road maintenance machines, based on the Caterpillar 120K and 120M surface grader platforms, with custom modifications designed for underground conditions.

The first Elphinstone underground grader was developed from a Caterpillar 12G in 1978.

The role of the underground grader, Elphinstone says, is to prepare and maintain haul and access roads with adequate drainage throughout the tunnel network. Quality haul road maintenance ensures all production, support and light vehicles can move freely in a safe and controlled manner with optimal efficiency. The added benefit is increased production equipment tyre and component life and speed on grade.

Elphinstone graders are currently operating in Argentina, Canada, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and USA.

Sandvik and Finning partner on HVO biodiesel use in crushing, screening equipment

Sandvik’s Mobiles business unit and Cat dealer Finning say they have successfully tested hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) with C series Cat® engines without making any modifications to the engine or fuel tanks.

The test could pave the way for the renewable synthetic diesel powering large, mobile crushing and screening equipment from Sandvik, the OEM said.

Forming a part in both company’s journey towards a more sustainable future, the use of HVO reduces net carbon emissions by up to 90% compared with conventional diesel, the companies say, with the HVO used by the companies only made from renewable feedstocks certified by The International Sustainability & Carbon Certification.

Its performance is similar to regular diesel, so the power output and uptime are not compromised, according to the companies.

The companies explained: “Hydrotreating of vegetable oils is a modern way to produce very high-quality renewable diesel fuels without requiring any changes to fuel logistics, engines, or exhaust aftertreatment devices. Unlike other biodiesels, HVO is not sensitive to low or high temperatures, or indeed to exposure to sunlight, as all oxygen is removed during the production process. Also, due to the use of hydrogen in the production process, HVO has an impressive shelf life, compared to other biodiesels. Since no iron or system changes are required, it can be considered a drop-in replacement for diesel.”

Jesper Persson, Vice President Life Cycle Services at Sandvik Mobiles, said: “We are committed to using engineering and innovation through our products to make the shift towards more sustainable business. With a host of innovations in the pipeline, including electrification of our offering, we are excited to be pioneers in the industry and invest in renewable fuel sources sustainable rock processing solutions.

“Working alongside Finning to performance-engineer the feasibility of HVO means we can collect data and monitor any impact on the performance and output. It’s an exciting step in our contribution to sustainability and we will work together with our customers and suppliers for more productive, safer, and innovative solutions.”

Steffen Barrett, Sales Manager – Industrial Engines, Finning UK & Ireland, said: “As Sandvik strive to balance environmental and business sustainability, we are ready to provide the solutions they need to achieve their goals. Our customers’ priorities are evolving toward a carbon-reduced future and our products and services are evolving with them.

“We are actively supporting the use of plant-based and waste-derived fuels in our engines as alternatives to traditional fuels. Our engines are engineered for use with a range of renewable fuels, including up to B100 HVO (EN15940 or ASTM D975), that have a significantly lower net carbon footprint than conventional diesel.”

Caterpillar to introduce battery-electric and autonomous haulage tech at Newmont ops

Newmont has announced a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system that will see the introduction of first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology and automation at the gold miner’s Cripple Creek and Victor and Tanami mines in the USA and Australia, respectively.

The announcement comes a day after Newmont’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Dean Gehring, told the Energy and Mines Virtual World Congress that the company’s primary focus for decarbonising its mobile mining fleet was on battery-electric options. It also follows the deployment of autonomous haulage solution technology at the Boddington mine in Australia (control room, pictured).

Together, the two companies will collaborate to create a safer, more productive mine, and substantially support Newmont in reaching its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets of more than 30%, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050, the companies said.

Tom Palmer, President and CEO of Newmont Corporation, said: “A year ago, Newmont announced industry-leading emission reduction targets because we understand the human contribution to climate change. We followed with a commitment to invest $500 million over five years to identify pathways forward as we firmly believe that we must make bold, lasting commitments to achieve the necessary change for a bright, healthy future.

“Today, we furthered that commitment by announcing a new strategic alliance with Caterpillar to address climate change by fundamentally changing the mining industry through the rapid development and implementation of a comprehensive all-electric autonomous mining system to achieve zero emissions mining.”

Newmont’s surface and underground mining fleets are responsible for approximately 40% of the company’s carbon emissions, and building a new model for surface and underground mining is critical to delivering on Newmont’s emissions reduction targets, the company said.

Newmont will also be supporting Caterpillar’s validation of evolving features and functionality within the MineStar suite to be deployed across Newmont’s surface and underground assets globally. This deployment facilitates centralised production and asset management.

“Caterpillar is committed to providing transformational advancements in safety, sustainability and technology,” Jim Umpleby, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc, said. “We share Newmont’s dedication to a reduced-carbon future, and we’re honoured to work together on this industry leading effort.”

(From left to right) Rob Atkinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Newmont, Tom Palmer, President and CEO, Newmont, Jim Umpleby, Chairman and CEO Caterpillar Inc, and Denise Johnson, Group President, Caterpillar Inc

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) mine in Colorado, USA and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

  • Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment;
  • Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery-electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Together, Newmont and Caterpillar plan to validate equipment, infrastructure, technologies and processes to transform both surface and underground mining, focusing on safety, automation, decarbonisation, optimisation, data and asset management across Newmont’s global operations, the miner said.

“Leveraging Newmont’s scale and operational capabilities, the alliance sets the stage for the rapid development and deployment of the technologies, ultimately improving safety, productivity and energy efficiency across the mining industry,” it added.