In its latest move to become the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world, Boliden has opened the trolley line at its Kevitsa mine in Finland.
The line, which encompasses a 1.3-km-long track, now has three Komatsu 227 t 830E-5 trucks running on it, according to Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden. “The following 10 trucks will be converted in the spring of 2023 when the in-pit trolley line will be commissioned,” he told IM.
This project aims to cut the mine’s carbon dioxide emissions, with estimates the volume of CO2 emitted could reduce by 9% over mine’s lifetime using this electrical infrastructure.
Boliden is not new to trolley operations. It started testing trucks on the Kevitsa line late last year, while its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden ran electric-drive trucks on trolley as far back as 2018.
Following a two-year trolley assist pilot project on a 700-m-long line at Aitik – which saw Eitech and ABB supply electrical infrastructure; Pon Equipment and Caterpillar carry out truck modifications; and Chalmers University provide supporting research on system aspects of the electrification – the company, in late-2019, decided to further invest in trolley operations at Aitik. This was announced at the same time as the Kevitsa trolley plans.
Romedahl confirmed there are now 14 Caterpillar 313 t 795F ACs trucks running on a 1.7-km-long trolley line at Aitik, which will be extended as the depth of the mine increases.
While all the trucks at these two operations use diesel-powered propulsion after they come off the trolley infrastructure, Romedahl said the plan was to convert them to ‘zero emission’ solutions in the future, with a battery-trolley setup under consideration.
“Yes, this is the long-term strategy,” he said. “Boliden is working closely with our suppliers to achieve this in the upcoming years.”
With the world requiring many more mines to electrify industry, Romedahl was hopeful more of these would move towards fossil-free operation.
“At Boliden we have the vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world,” he said. “That is not something you can have as a vision without doing quite a lot in the field of sustainable company development. The trolley lines are one of many activities we do to reach that vision.
“For Boliden, it is crucial to perform in the direction of fossil freeness as soon as possible. The green transition can’t happen in 10 years; it needs to happen now.”