Tag Archives: electric light vehicles

Siemens Australia and Murray Engineering collaborate on electric vehicle charging units

Siemens Australia and Murray Engineering have partnered to, the companies say, provide “holistic” underground electric charging stations for mines.

The two have developed a ground-breaking high-powered electric vehicle charging station for use at mines both below and above ground.

The vehicle-agnostic charging stations will first be used to power a new light electric vehicle (eLV) being designed and manufactured by underground mining specialist, Murray Engineering, providing a fully-enclosed solution specifically designed to handle the toughest underground mining conditions in Australia.

The first of Murray Engineering’s eLVs will be ready for testing by the end of the year, with potential application at mine sites by mid-2021, according to the companies. Murray Engineering has the scale and access to test the solution through its parent company and underground mining contractor, the Byrnecut Group, which also owns one of the largest fleets of light vehicles used in mines.

Siemens will provide its Sicharge UC high power DC chargers, which provide a flexible output range from 125-600 kW with five frontends on each station as well as pantograph charging. Siemens Sicharge UC200 can deliver 200 kW and is already on-site at Murray Engineering headquarters in Pinjarra, Western Australia. The flexible high-power range of Siemens Sicharge UC portfolio enables the charging stations to scale for light, medium and heavy vehicles, it said.

Murray Engineering, which owns and operates a large fleet of light vehicles in its own right and integrates mine specification to over 100 vehicles annually, will design and fabricate a heavy-duty enclosure to protect the unit from the harsh underground conditions and enable ease of manoeuvrability. The enclosures will be air conditioned to protect the chargers and will have human machine interface panels on the outside to control the unit, Murray said. These high-powered units will allow vehicles to be fully charged in minutes (rather than hours), according to the companies.

Siemens Australia Pacific CEO, Jeff Connolly, welcomed the partnership, saying: “Since 1872, Siemens has been implementing globally renowned technologies to help Australian industry progress. This partnership will continue our trajectory of bringing the best in the world to the region and helping provide safer, quicker, more cost effective and sustainable solutions.”

Dr Max Ong, Innovation & Technology Manager at Murray Engineering, said: “Existing battery and charging solutions have fallen short of miners’ expectations where it matters most. Their commitment to cleaner, healthier and sustainable energy requires that the technology delivers equal benefits to productivity, safety and efficiency.

“Through Murray’s experience and technology capabilities, our fast-charging vehicles and infrastructure will deliver those benefits, whilst enhancing asset value and through-life cost. Being part of the largest underground mining contracting company in Australia, we understand the vehicle requirements very well and are well placed to develop a solution that not only matches, but also pre-empts, the needs of our customers and the industry.”

Dr Ong added: “Many existing electric vehicles designed for mining are matched to their own specific charging station, making the solution inefficient and expensive in the long run. The solution we are working on will be vehicle agnostic and has the potential to be scaled up as required. The importance of local manufacturing on Australian soil has never been so important.”

OZ Minerals eyes up block cave opportunities at Carrapateena underground mine

A prefeasibility study on an expansion of OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold underground mine, in South Australia, has indicated a block cave conversion in the lower portion of the Carrapateena resource has the potential to almost double average production from 2026.

It is these results, plus the potential Block Cave 1 and Block Cave 2 expansion net present value of circa-A$770 million ($534 million) at final investment decision in 2023, that has seen the company confirm it will progress the plan to feasibility study stage, with the Carrapateena Block Cave Expansion Feasibility Study Stage 1 report expected before the end of 2021.

The PFS plan includes the potential to transition to dry-stacked tailings to reduce reliance on groundwater resources and a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub – both of which are aligned with OZ Minerals’ strategy and aspirations, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said.

Carrapateena produced first concentrate in December 2019 following a three-year construction period and is targeting a 12-month ramp-up period to achieve a production rate of 4.25 Mt/y by the end of this year.

Currently an underground sub-level cave operation with an estimated mine life of 20 years, the latest study, which comes with a A$1.2-1.3 billion capital expenditure bill shows the potential for a future expansion of the bottom half of the operation into a series of block caves.

Cole said: “The prefeasibility study analysed the whole Carrapateena Province and determined that replacing the lower half of the current sub-level cave with a block cave and expanding the expected annual throughput rate from 4.7-5 Mt/y (currently planned from 2023) to 12 Mt/y, has the potential to create significantly more value than the sub-level cave alone.”

He said the block cave would leverage existing underground infrastructure, supported by expanded surface processing capability.

OZ Minerals added: “The proposed block cave is different from previous Carrapateena block cave studies as it targets a smaller, higher-grade footprint in BC1 (block cave one) with 600 m height of draw, followed by a lower-grade BC2 (block cave 2) with 400 m height of draw. The Carrapateena block cave builds on modern block caving experience, and aims to deliver an automated, electrified, data-driven mine with technology embedded in the design.”

The conversion to block cave operations enables a series of future add-on block caves, all of which were considered in the Life of Province scoping study, Cole added.

The plan could see annual production double to around 110,000–120,000 t of copper and 110,000–120,000 oz of gold from 2026, with life of mine all-in sustaining costs of some $0.75-0.85 c/lb ($1,654-1,874/t), he said.

Key upgrades to underground infrastructure include faster conveying systems with improved utilisation and a larger crusher station three for the block cave with increased capacity over that required for the sub-level cave.

An additional primary ventilation fan and circuit will be required for the transition period from sub-level cave to block cave before a reduction in the mine’s ventilation requirements for the life of mine, the company added.

The prefeasibility study currently recommends the process plant upgrade to 12 Mt/y via a parallel processing circuit to minimise brownfield interfaces and introduce energy load scheduling via the vertical roller mill as the primary surface crushing option, OZ Minerals said.

“The parallel process plant approach also allows both plants to be run independently, and for mine production to continue during plant shutdown periods,” the company said.

However, pivoting back to a traditional SAG/ball grinding circuit in the parallel process plant or tertiary crushing, to increase sub-level cave process plant throughput, will remain as options until final detailed design, OZ Minerals explained. This will not have a material impact on project value and allow time for optimisation of the current sub-level cave process plant before a final decision, it added.