Copper Mountain’s 2021 ESG Report has highlighted the progress the company has made on its “net-zero journey”, with its ongoing trolley assist project in British Columbia, Canada, one of the key drivers towards hitting its major 2035 goal.
The company operates its namesake mine in BC, which has recently increased throughput to 45,000 t/d as part of this net-zero journey.
Earlier this year, the company commissioned its trolley assist project with the help of Komatsu, SMS, ABB, BC Hydro and CleanBC. This project, the first of its kind in North America and a key plank of Copper Mountain’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035, was designed to support four full-sized, trolley-capable 830E-5 Komatsu trucks at a time with hauling ore up a 1-km section of ramp in the operation’s main pit to its primary crusher.
Since commissioning the project, the company has amended its plan to convert seven trucks to trolley assist operation, now saying a total of 11 trolley-capable Komatsu trucks will be available to use trolley assist in the pit.
Each truck is expected to reduce diesel use by approximately 400 litres per hour, the company says, which equates to approximately 1 t of CO2 emissions.
“The trolley assist system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2019 levels,” Copper Mountain says. “This is based on calculated savings of 6,000 t CO2e/y for the initial seven trucks as calculated for the trial, which, when scaled to the full fleet of 28 trucks, would produce a savings of 24,000 t CO2e/y, or approximately 30% compared to 2019 levels.”
With additional trolley sections planned over the next five-to-seven years, Copper Mountain says it could see a reduction of carbon emissions of up to 50% compared with 2019 levels.
The fact the Copper Mountain Mine is connected to the BC electricity grid, which has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world due to being powered by clean and reliable hydroelectric power, makes the trolley assist project even more ‘sustainable’.
The company says it has been working with BC Hydro to upgrade the power supply infrastructure to the Copper Mountain Mine to provide more power for trolley assist and future power demands as it decarbonises and explores additional ways to electrify its operation.
Alongside the trolley assist project, Copper Mountain says it is working with partners to reduce emissions from diesel-powered haul trucks.
In 2021, it established a partnership with Cummins, Komatsu and SMS to test the use of a renewable diesel in haul trucks, and it continues to advance other partnerships to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Outside of trucks, Copper Mountain said it has targets to electrify its shovels in 2023 and drills in 2024.
Also in 2021, Copper Mountain collaborated with the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and IBM to build a digital carbon emissions certification system called Mines Digital Trust. Using blockchain technology to attach ESG disclosures to metal production, this program enabled transparency along the supply chain and allowed third parties to track responsible producers through the Open Climate Network, led by the OpenEarth Foundation and the UN Global Innovation, the company said.