Ukraine-focused iron ore producer Ferrexpo says it is moving forward with a plan to electrify its mining fleet via trolley assist, with the first stage of this transition signed off by the Executive Committee in the first half of 2022.
Part of Ferrexpo’s strategy is to use modern technology to update and expand its operations, and the company has stood firm on this focus despite the ongoing war in Ukraine. This has seen the company continune to invest in autonomous and electric solutions to enable the long-term sustainability of its operations.
In the first half of the year, the Executive Committee met and approved the first stage of the electrification of the mining fleet, representing planning activities for the installation of a trolley-assist network up the haul ramp at its mines. Detailed engineering work is now underway for the conversion of 11 trucks to be electric-drive so that they could serve as a trial for this technology on a larger scale at Ferrexpo’s operations.
“If successful, the group intends to expand this project to include additional trucks and/or additional mines in the deployment of this technology, which is expected to have material benefits,” it said.
Among the benefits highlighted by the company are:
- Cycle times and productivity: electric-drive trucks operating up-ramp on a trolley-assist network are able to fully utilise the power of the truck’s engine and, therefore, are expected to travel 10-20% faster up the haul ramp. This will reduce cycle times, meaning each truck will be capable of transporting more rock during each shift; and
- Diesel consumption rates and greenhouse gas emissions: during the fully-loaded, up-ramp part of a haul truck’s cycle, each truck will consume approximately 50% of its diesel consumption. By operating using clean electricity, the group expects to have a material saving on the mining department’s greenhouse gas emissions, since diesel consumption represents the main source of emissions in mining activities, with diesel representing 40% of Scope 1 CO2e emissions in 2021 (2020: 40%).
The iron ore pellet producer previously said it was embarking on scoping studies investigating trolley assist technology at its Poltava mine in Ukraine, as part of its plans to reduce both C1 costs and Scope 1 carbon emissions.
And, in December 2020, Ferrexpo Acting CEO, Jim North, told IM that the company planned to move to electric drive haul trucks in the next few years as a precursor to applying trolley assist at the operation.