Tag Archives: Justin Bain

3ME looks to scale-up Bladevolt battery system tech following A$20m investments from CEFC, AGBF

3ME Technology has completed a A$20 million ($14.6 million) capital raise with the CEFC and the Australian Business Growth Fund (AGBF) that will allow the company to scale-up production of its modular and scalable battery systems.

The CEFC, on behalf of the Australian Government, has pledged A$5 million of investment in 3ME, with the remainder coming from the AGBF.

The investment, the CEFC says, will enable miners to replace diesel engines with cutting-edge battery electric systems, reducing their emissions and supporting safer, more efficient mine operations.

Based in the Hunter region of New South Wales, 3ME’s battery systems have featured in Safescape’s Bortana EV and, more recently, in the TRITEV Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader running at Aeris Resources Tritton copper operations in the state.

Its Bladevolt battery technology, the CEFC says, allows remote performance monitoring and control of battery pack cells, and is modular and powerful enough to transform a 20-t loader – such as the TRITEV – into a fully electric-powered vehicle.

Earlier this year, 3ME confirmed a circa-A$140 million deal had been agreed between it and Batt Mobile Equipment (BME). The pact between the two companies, which worked on the development of the TRITEV, would see 3ME supply BME with upwards of 150 electric vehicle engine packages over the next five years to power BME’s 20 t Integrated Tool Carrier battery-electric vehicle retrofits.

On the recent funding agreement, CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said: “The decarbonisation of Australia’s resources sector is critical to our clean energy transition and electrification has an important part to play. Mining vehicles have unique needs and 3ME Technology’s battery system is a purpose-built solution that will enable the sector to capture more of the benefits of clean energy.

“3ME Technology has come up with a scalable solution that replaces carbon intensive diesel engines to enable mining vehicles to be powered by clean, green energy to drive down emissions. It also provides important health and safety benefits by removing diesel emissions to improve a mine’s air quality, and its bottom line, by saving on ventilation costs.”

The electrification of mining assets over the next five years through the installation of the 3ME Technology battery systems is estimated to abate 49,000 CO2-e/y on average and about 735,000 CO2-e over the lifetime of the assets, the CEFC says.

Mining vehicles now suitable for retrofit or replacement with 3ME Technology-based electric systems include light vehicles, personnel carriers, LHDs and integrated tool carriers. With a domestic market size of about 7,000 diesel vehicles operating in more than 400 mines across Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, there is a significant potential market for 3ME Technology’s systems, according to the CEFC.

3ME Technology, CEO Justin Bain, said: “In developing the Bladevolt battery system, our focus has been on meeting the very high safety and operating demands of heavy vehicles used in Australia’s resources sector. With that challenge solved, and the investment backing of the CEFC, we are ready to scale up production and help the mining industry deliver better performance through lower emissions and improved operator safety.”

CEFC Executive Director, Western Australia and Resources, Rob Wilson said: “Electrifying mining fleet vehicles is not just good for sustainability, it makes good business sense for mines in terms of operations, health, energy efficiency and information optimisation.

“A growing interest in clean supply chains means manufacturers are increasingly preferencing low carbon materials from suppliers. Replacing diesel engines with electric technology enables suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of their mobile and transport equipment.”

The CEFC invests to reduce carbon emissions across the Australian economy, including in the resources and industrial sectors. It has supported the evolution of new industry sectors related to the clean energy transition, and also invests in established producers to improve sustainability in mining through energy efficient equipment, low emissions transport and renewable energy. CEFC resource sector investments include financing a 10 MW solar plant and 6 MW battery at the DeGrussa copper-gold Mine, investing in the renewable supply chain to help Pilbara Minerals meet growing demand for lithium and supporting the establishment of a low emissions fertiliser industry with SO4 Limited.

The 3ME Technology investment aligns with the Australian Government Low Emissions Technology Statement by using emerging technologies to support emissions reduction from primary industries, it says.

The transaction is the first investment by ABGF, which was established to provide patient growth capital to Australian SMEs as a public-private partnership between the Australian Government, ANZ, NAB, CBA, Westpac, Macquarie, and HSBC.

3ME and Batt Mobile Equipment showcase new 20 t battery-electric loader

A new underground mine electric vehicle (EV) has been showcased in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, promising a “rEVolution for mining operations”.

The ‘TRITEV is believed to be the first fully battery-electric retrofit 20 t loader suitable for deployment into underground hard-rock mines. It has been developed in Australia for the mining industry alongside Safescape’s Bortana EV, launched in 2019.

A collaboration between 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment to deliver the fully operational TRITEV prototype is anticipated to represent a successful shift away from diesel-run vehicles for Aeris Resources and its Tritton copper project in New South Wales.

With the TRITEV now complete and operating with a capability that meets or exceeds the diesel variant, 3ME Technology believes the platform will be a key player in the drive to decarbonise, and eliminate the issue of diesel particulate matter underground all while saving on the high operating costs associated with mine shaft ventilation and the running of an ageing diesel fleet.

The electric vehicle has been developed under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which bring together Australian METS companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support the improved productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the Australia’s leading METS sector.

Justin Bain, 3ME Technology’s CEO, who unveiled the TRITEV at this week’s event, said: “The TRITEV has been the result of a heavily collaborative effort. Whilst it’s been a challenging integration process, we’ve enjoyed working closely with all parties and we are now in position to replicate these models at scale.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Batt Mobile Equipment. Their industry knowledge, vehicle design expertise and mechanical acumen is second to none. We felt today would be the perfect time to announce we have formalised our partnership, which we believe will mark the Hunter [Valley] as a powerhouse in the battery-electric mining space.”

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the showcase highlights the immense capability of Australia’s METS sector to deliver technologies to improve sustainable mining practices.

“METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre is pleased to support the commercialisation of technologies enabling safety improvements for Australia’s mining industry and potential global partners,” Beer said.

3ME Technology COO, Martin Kime, said the TRITEV is already receiving strong interest from the underground mining industry.

“With hundreds of these platforms in mines across Australia, we have seen significant interest from other miners in the battery-electric retrofit of existing platforms,” Kime said. “From the conversations we’ve had, what is driving the orders we’ve received is the recognition that there is an absolute need to remove diesel and many miners realise that by getting in early they will secure access to the platforms.

“Given the demand, we look forward to bringing jobs to the Hunter, helping with the COVID recovery whilst creating next-generation, clean-battery technology!”

With a range of additional mining vehicles out there to be electrified, building on the success of the ‘Project EVmine’, it is anticipated the METS Ignited, Safescape, Aeris Resources, 3ME Technology, Batt Mobile Equipment partnership will continue with its quest to electrify underground mining to increase the standards of workplace health and safety for the miners, benefit the environment while allowing miners be more competitive on the global market via significant savings to operating expenses, METS Ignited said.

3ME and KESHI sign flameproof electric motor distribution deal

3ME Technology has signed a 10-year distribution deal with KESHI Group that will see its e-mobility solutions equipped with flameproof electric motors.

The agreement comes as 3ME Technology continues to build its strategic position in the mine electrification sector, including technology offerings for underground hazardous areas (flammable atmospheres) where challenging flameproof equipment certifications exist.

3ME said: “3ME Technology aims to provide superior electro-mobility (e-mobility) solutions to improve safety, performance and sustainability with one of its key target industries being mining. KESHI Group is a full-service provider of hazardous area mining auxiliary transportation equipment, engaged in the development, manufacturing, sales and service of hazardous area mining transportation solutions.”

KESHI Group, through collaboration with UQM Technologies (now Danfoss Editron), developed a flameproof electric motor designed to meet explosion-proof compliance. 3ME, through its strong relationship with UQM Technologies over the last 10 years, was provided with an introduction to KESHI over 12 months ago, which led to this formalised collaboration.

The current flameproof motors include UQM internal components – named a cartridge – combined with a KESHI Group metal housing. This will be incorporated into 3ME Technology’s flameproof system going forward.

“The distribution deal supports 3ME’s exclusive supply of KESHI-UQM explosion-proof motors into the Australian and New Zealand market,” 3ME said.

3ME Technology CEO, Justin Bain (pictured bottom right, signing contract), told IM: “3ME continues to consolidate key supporting technologies that, when combined with our core battery system and vehicle control software, progresses 3ME’s strategic position in both the local and international mining market and in this case for hazardous areas.

“We have successfully used the highly-reliable UQM (Danfoss Editron) e-motors for many years which, combined with the KESHI flameproof enclosure, provides an excellent new product for our vehicle manufacturer partners supporting hazardous area operations.”

Bain added 3ME looks forward to long-term successful collaboration with KESHI Group and “we have already identified other areas for promising collaboration in both the import and export space”.

Following a recent meeting with Bain and 3ME Technology’s CTO, Steven Howell, at AIMEX 2019 in Sydney, Australia, recently, IM understands the company has been very busy in the workshop with developing partners, with corporate and product updates expected soon.

 

Safescape, 3ME and Agrale’s Bortana electric vehicle ready for mine site trial

Safescape, 3ME Technology and Agrale are celebrating the launch of the new Bortana electric vehicle (EV), with the partners now preparing to dispatch a prototype for a three-month trial at a gold mine.

The launch, taking place at Mt Cotton Training Centre on May 24, followed a successful exhibition at the Austmine conference, in Brisbane, Australia, Safescape said.

The project, partly funded by Australia’s METS Ignited industry growth centre, has seen the three companies design a purpose-built battery electric utility vehicle for the mining industry that, METS Ignited says, offers a significant increase in sustainability and durability compared with the existing options.

The Bortana EV uses the chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise.

3ME Technology CEO, Justin Bain, said a vehicle of this nature is needed in the Australian mining landscape.

“Vehicles used in underground Australian mining operations have faced issues of corrosion, durability and emissions for a long time – there is a sore need for a better solution.

“The BORTANA EV was developed for the harsh environments of Australian mine sites and we’re really excited to see this vehicle in action. We have focused on achieving the highest levels of safety and compliance whilst delivering superior performance and efficiency.”

The application of battery-electric vehicles in underground mining provides several key benefits over traditional diesel-powered engines, with the new vehicle producing minimal heat, minimal noise and, most importantly, no diesel particulate matter exposure for workers within confined spaces. “This also means reduced costs in ventilation and maintenance for mine operators,” METS Ignited said.

Supporting the Bortana EV during the launch was the Agrale Marruá with both a single- and dual-cab vehicle on display. This vehicle is traditionally used in the Brazil army and mining industry, with Safescape selecting the chassis due to its corrosion-resistant body and ability to withstand the harshest of conditions.

The vehicles are future-proofed; equipped for integration with current autonomous and future artificial intelligence developments, according to METS Ignited, which provided A$500,000 ($343,700) for the project under its Collaborative Project Funds, in 2018.

Following the three-month trial at the gold mine – which Bain previously confirmed to IM was Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville operation in Victoria, Australia – the prototype will have further exposure to other mining companies and contractors, METS Ignited said.

“The trial will test the battery-electric vehicle’s ability to achieve mining duty cycles and provide superior drivability, safety, corrosion protection, reliability and maintainability in comparison with the current underground diesel light vehicle fleet,” Bain said back in January. “The EV will initially be integrated into the Fosterville fleet as a supervisor vehicle and undertake all tasks required by the diesel light utility vehicles. An operational risk assessment of the BORTANA EV has been conducted with Fosterville to ensure the vehicle will meet its mine site compliance requirements.”

METS Ignited General Manager Industry Engagement, Peter Clarke, said: “We are pleased to support 3ME Technology and Safescape in developing a great solution for Australian mining operations. The safety benefits and cost savings achieved by implementing these vehicles onsite will make a significant difference for miners.

“This is a great example of how funding and support for collaboration pays off for the sector.”

Safescape Managing Director, Steve Durkin, thinks the Bortana EV will offer the right mix of capability and longevity in the mining environment.

The lack of tail-pipe emissions, plus reduced heat generation are just some of the benefits underground mines are likely to realise with the use of the Bortana EV, he said.

“We believe that the Bortana EV will have a lower total cost of ownership than any other comparable production vehicle in the mining environment,” Durkin concluded.

Energetique Mining Vehicles changes name and focus to 3ME

Energetique Mining Vehicles (EMV) has changed its name to 3ME Technology as it looks to revise its battery-electric vehicle focus on, specifically, the mining, military and marine markets.

EMV came out of Energetique, a group based in New South Wales, Australia, which has been developing battery electric vehicle systems in Australia for over a decade.

3ME will be the company’s single market-facing brand and represent the preceding Energetique Group of Companies, the company said.

The change represents several developments, with three key ones being:

  • The revised focus on mining, military and marine applications (the ‘3M’ in 3ME);
  • 3ME’s role as a technology provider as opposed to an electric vehicle original equipment manufacturer. The company said: “3ME’s focus is predominately around the provision of customised battery modules and as a battery electric vehicle systems ‘integrator’”, and;
  • The company’s progression into production as Energetique’s technology commercialises after over a decade of successful research and development projects. “The E in 3ME represents the history of Energetique,” 3ME said.

3ME Technology has several projects in progress, including the EVmine project, which is focused on providing a conversion of two common underground mining platforms from diesel to battery electric with the addition of innovative safety and connectivity features.

EVmine is a joint project with Safescape and Aeris Resources and is focused on developing the BORTANA EV utility vehicle (pictured, Credit: Safescape) and TRITTON EV Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader. It is supported by the Australian Government’s METS Ignited Project Fund.