Tag Archives: mining trucks

Minera Carola bolsters mining fleet with six Sandvik Toro TH663i trucks

Minera Carola in Chile has agreed to purchase six Toro™ TH663i dump trucks to add to its fleet for its mining operations in the Atacama Region.

This will be part of a total of nine pieces of Sandvik equipment the company is purchasing for its production process.

“For us, the reliability and support that Sandvik gives us is key to our future operations,” Minera Carola said.

Minera Carola is dedicated to the extraction of minerals and production of copper, gold and silver concentrates, with the mineral extracted from the Carola mine and subsequently processed at the Cerrillos plant, where the concentrate is produced, which is then processed at ENAMI’s Hernán Videla Lira smelter.

The TH663i truck’s low weight, 63-tonne payload capacity and high ramp speeds enhance ore transportation efficiency, according to Sandvik, with the reduced weight improving productivity, lowering fuel consumption, minimising tyre wear and reducing overall operating costs.

The truck features a Stage II/Tier 2 engine, offering long engine life time, low fuel consumption and low cost of ownership, the OEM says. When ultra-low sulphur fuel is available, Sandvik offers a Stage V engine as option. Both engines can use EN 15940-compliant renewable paraffinic diesel fuels, reducing exhaust emissions.

It also incorporates cutting-edge technology that enables real-time monitoring, remote operation and data-driven insights. This translates to better decision-making and improved operational efficiency, Sandvik says. With reduced emissions, efficient energy consumption and environmentally conscious design, it also aligns with the industry’s evolving sustainability goals.

WesTrac and Hushpak’s expertise delivering sound results on board Cat 793Fs for Bloomfield

WesTrac and its subsidiary Hushpak have delivered what they say is as an innovative sound suppression solution to The Bloomfield Group that has reduced the noise output of 19 Cat 793F mining trucks.

Managing the sound output from heavy machinery can be a challenging task on mine sites, but this is starting to become easier for many businesses, according to WesTrac.

“That’s thanks to a range of innovative sound suppression offerings from leading Caterpillar dealer WesTrac, which in the last two years has delivered 19 Cat 793F large mining trucks to Hunter Valley-based mining customer The Bloomfield Group showcasing these capabilities,” it said.

Using a combination of Caterpillar factory options and inhouse, customised solutions, WesTrac was tasked with reducing the noise of the Cat 793F trucks to levels that aligned to Bloomfields’ requirements at its Bloomfield and Rix’s Creek mines – in close proximity to Maitland and Singleton, respectively.

According to WesTrac NSW Strategic Growth Manager, Alan Corcoran, the solution achieved that goal on time, within budget and included several requested customisations.

“Working with our subsidiary Hushpak, we devised a solution that passed the sound output tests in the first instance,” Corcoran says.

Hushpak is a standalone engineering business specialising in sound suppression and attenuation on both mobile and fixed plant. WesTrac acquired the company in March 2022.

“Sound comes from various outputs, particularly on mobile plant,” he explains. “The engine, transmission, fan, hydraulic pumps and various other components compound to make these large machines quite noisy.

“Caterpillar offer ready-to-order sound suppression kits for mining machines, but, in some cases, there are gaps in the product offering. Many of our customers have unique needs, especially in areas like the Hunter Valley, where mine sites are in closer proximity to towns and residential areas.

“These customers have additional requirements that need further sound suppression. Meeting these unique needs, on all types of mining equipment, such as this customer’s 793F trucks, led to this project to bridge the gap.”

“These 793Fs are a 20-year investment for our business and are setting the foundation for our haulage fleet moving forward,” David Worboys says

Such is the case for Bloomfield, which produces around 2.5 Mt/y of saleable coal from its mines in New South Wales, where all haulage and ancillary machinery fleet are Cat products.

Following extensive market research carried out in 2020, Bloomfield Plant and Equipment Manager, David Worboys, and his broader team settled on the 220-t-class Caterpillar 793F truck and have since taken delivery of 19 units from WesTrac’s Tomago branch, now working at Rix’s Creek and Bloomfield mine.

Worboys says all trucks fitted out with the Hushpak-engineered sound attenuation package were contributing to ongoing site noise compliance and minimising impact to nearby communities.

“We pride ourselves on being good neighbours, and therefore we make every effort to minimise the noise impacts on them,” he says. “We use engineering best practice where we can, to achieve as high sound output reduction as we can.

“These 793Fs are a 20-year investment for our business and are setting the foundation for our haulage fleet moving forward.”

With that in mind, WesTrac’s equipment specialists and engineers worked with Hushpak and Bloomfield to develop a customised solution for the 793F that took airflow, weld locations, centre of gravity, visibility and access for maintenance into consideration.

On completion of the first 793F fit out, WesTrac engaged an independent tester to assess the noise output. Testing was carried out at WesTrac’s NSW headquarters in Tomago.

Following delivery of the first two trucks to site, WesTrac and Hushpak continued to work with Bloomfield to administer minor adjustments that have been carried through to other trucks delivered.

“Through collaboration, using expertise from us on site and working with WesTrac and Hushpak to come up with solutions introduced into the sound attenuation package has ultimately delivered a great product,” Worboys says.

Corcoran said WesTrac’s ability to tailor solutions to meet customer requirements as well as broader requirements such as emission reduction targets fuels the company’s continuous improvement program.

Duratray Suspended Dump Bodies on their way to Kibali gold mine

A new fleet of Duratray Suspended Dump Bodies (SDB) for Caterpillar 777-05 mining trucks has been completed and shipped to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for use at the Kibali gold mine in the country.

Following manufacture in Turkey, the steel frames will be transported on sea to Kenya, then 1,800 km overland through Uganda until reaching their final destination at the Kibali mine.

Kibali is owned by Kibali Goldmines SA which is a joint venture company effectively owned 45% by each of Barrick and AngloGold Ashanti, and 10% by Société Miniére de Kilo-Moto. The mine is operated by Barrick.

Duratray International Project Manager, Csaba Nagy, said the Kibali contract represented the first post-COVID collaboration with the company’s fabriactor in Turkey, which had resulted in great success, despite current challenges such as labour shortages and high demand for steel. Simultaneously, the rubber wearmat kits, fixings, special tools and spare parts were shipped from Duratray’s principal manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Victoria.

The four Caterpillar 777-05 dump bodies will be transported in preassembled parts. Steel frame assembly then rubber component installation will take place at Kibali mine by a Duratray International Field Service crew from South Africa.

Tharisa puts Liebherr T 236 trucks and PR 776 dozer to the test in the Bushveld

Tharisa, the platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome co-producer, says three Liebherr Generation 2 Litronic Drive machines – two trucks and one dozer – have been delivered to the Tharisa Mine and begun operational testing.

The partnership with Liebherr is part of Tharisa’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiative to reduce its carbon footprint.

The two 100-t T 236 mining trucks and one 72-t PR 776 dozer, both of which use the latest generation diesel engine technology with the T236s using Cummins QST 30 engines and the PR 776 utilising the Liebherr D9512 engine, are characterised by low-level fuel consumption, Tharisa said. They will be fully stress-tested under operational conditions for 18 months, operating as part of the production fleet under supervision of both Tharisa’s mining team and Liebherr Mining Africa.

“These state-of-the-art diesel-electric mining trucks’ drive train technology benefit from improved fuel economy due to their efficient engine and fuel system, advanced airflow system as well as low-end torque performance and emissions capability,” Tharisa said. “The trucks’ continuous drive system technology will be field tested to determine whether the machines can withstand the climatic and geomorphological makeup of the hard-rock mining of the Bushveld Complex.”

The aim of the long-term, real-life tests is to ensure the trucks reduce diesel consumption and costs while testing the machines’ ability to deliver a minimised environmental footprint, and still deliver on production metrics, as part of Tharisa’s drive for a more sustainable mining environment.

One of Tharisa’s core values is safety and the T236 has a variety of operational safety features such as payload warnings, anti-rollback features, engine shutdown switches in the cab and at ground level and an integrated four corner park brake system, the miner said. These safety systems are in line with the current specifications of the existing truck fleet operating at the Tharisa Mine.

The PR 776 dozer has a high-efficiency rating of the hydrostatic drive across the entire vehicle speed range, which further minimises fuel consumption and ensures reduced levels of carbon dioxide emissions, it added.

Tebogo Matsimela, Head of ESG at Tharisa, said: “Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by 30% by 2030 and becoming net carbon neutral by 2050 is in action and includes using efficient technology. When we announced our targets, we already had an action plan in place and the intention to meet, if not exceed, our 2030 target.

“Liebherr has been a partner to Tharisa, and like all our other partners, we constantly challenge them to come up with innovative, cost-saving and environmentally friendly solutions that ensure our materials, which themselves are necessary for a more sustainable world, are produced in a sustainable manner. Investing in the next generation of mining equipment will reduce our carbon footprint and costs, allowing us to deliver enhanced and sustainable returns to our shareholders.”

Tharisa Minerals is 74% owned by Tharisa and is uniquely positioned as the world’s only co-producer of both PGM and chrome concentrates, the company says. Tharisa Minerals’ core asset is the Tharisa Mine, which is situated on South Africa’s Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex – home to more than 70% of the world’s platinum and chrome resources.

Barrick Gold’s Artisan Z50 battery-electric trial paying off at Turquoise Ridge

Barrick Gold’s decision to carry out a three-year production trial using Artisan Z50 battery-electric vehicles at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine looks to be paying off, with underground tonnage mined at the joint venture operation increasing during the most recent quarter.

Back in November, Sandvik and Barrick confirmed the signing of a partnership agreement for trailing and enhancing battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard-rock mining. This would see a three-year production trial take place where Sandvik would deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine, part of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture where Barrick is the 61.5% owner and operator.

In the company’s just-released June quarter results, Barrick reported that Turquoise Hill gold production in the June quarter was 15% lower than the prior quarter mainly due to an extended planned maintenance shutdown at the Sage autoclave. It noted that upgrades to the autoclave during the shutdown were expected to deliver improved reliability and performance in the second half of 2021.

And, while total tonnes mined decreased 12% compared with the prior quarter – driven by lower open-pit production – underground tonnes mined improved 11% quarter-on-quarter it said.

In this three-month period, Turquoise Ridge benefitted from “efficiency gains from the Sandvik Z50 electric haulage trucks at Turquoise Ridge” and higher tonnes mined from the Vista underground after remediation efforts were completed in the March quarter of 2021 following the previously disclosed fall of ground, it said.

While the use of the Z50s benefitted tonnage mined in the quarter, Barrick did not in its follow-up quarterly presentation that it was “working with Sandvik to address ongoing issues with batteries”.

Still on Turquoise Ridge, Barrick reported that shaft sinking on the Third Shaft at the mine had advanced to its final depth of 989 m below the collar in the quarter.

Construction of the Third Shaft, which has a hoisting capacity of 5,500 t/d, continues to advance according to schedule and within budget, it noted, with commissioning in late 2022. The focus of the project is now shifting from sinking activities to equipping in the September quarter.

Together with increased hoisting capacity, the Third Shaft is expected to provide additional ventilation for underground mining operations as well as shorter material haulage distances, according to Barrick.

As at June 30, Barrick had spent $201 million (including $17 million in the June quarter) out of an estimated capital cost of around $300-$330 million (100% basis).

Thyssen Mining is carrying out the shaft sinking project at the Third Shaft.

Thiess bolsters Chile mining fleet with five Liebherr T 264 haul trucks

Thiess is expanding its 240-t fleet in Chile with five new electric drive Liebherr T 264 mining trucks, cementing its commitment to growth in the region.

Thiess’ Executive General Manager Americas, Darrell White, said the fleet addition would further bolster Thiess’ capability and deliver productivity and efficiency gains for clients.

“South America is essential to Thiess’ long-term growth and building our diversification into commodities such as copper and gold,” White said. “The T 264s boost our fleet numbers and provide our clients with the opportunity to increase production capacity.

“This commitment to new fleet follows our recent investment in infrastructure, which includes a dedicated maintenance workshop, and building workforce capability through in-house and industry scholarship and pathway programs.”

Liebherr Chile’s Mining Division Director, Dale Clayton, said the Liebherr partnership with Thiess spanned three decades and enabled new products to enter the market, including the recently upgraded T 264s to Chile.

“The T 264 truck has a 240-t nominal payload capacity and an impressive payload-to-empty-vehicle weight ratio, leading to faster acceleration speeds, better speed on grade and higher hauling capacity, resulting in shorter cycle times and a lower cost per tonne,” he said said. “The combination of a high-power Cummins QSK60 2,700 hp (2,013 kW) diesel engine with the extremely efficient Liebherr AC electric propulsion system allows for maximum productivity and reduced downtime.”

He added: “Our La Negra Facility and Reman Centre is well placed to provide spare parts and components as well as training and technical support, and our teams are experienced in servicing mining fleet in the unique conditions Chile offers.”

The T 264s will be manufactured at Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co in Virginia, USA, and will then be shipped to Chile. Assembly of the trucks will take place at Liebherr’s La Negra Facility before being transported to site, ready for commissioning.

NRW in line for A$702 million Karara Mining iron ore gig

NRW has received a letter of intent from Karara Mining Ltd to carry out mining services works at the Karara iron ore mine in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Subject to reaching agreement with Karara, the anticipated value of the contract is around A$702 million ($529 million) over a five-year duration with a project workforce averaging circa-250 personnel.

MACA, through its recently acquired Mining West business, currently holds the contract mining agreement at Karara.

The works to be performed include load and haul, drill and blast, and run of mine re-handling. The drill and blast component will be undertaken by NRW’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd. In addition, the work includes train loading and re-handling of the product stockpiles together with “miscellaneous day works” at the mine site, camp and access roads.

Karara is the largest mining operation and the first major magnetite mine in the Mid West region. It produces a premium, high-grade concentrate that it exports to steelmakers.

“With an expected mine life of 30-plus years, Karara’s operation includes a large open-pit mine, complex ore processing and beneficiation plant and significant infrastructure and logistics networks,” NRW said.

NRW estimates an equipment capital expenditure of around A$170 million to be progressively spent over the term, which will include the purchase of three 600 t face shovel excavators and a fleet of 220 t trucks.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “With a strong local presence in the area through our Geraldton-based DIAB Engineering business and our mining contract with Gascoyne Resources at the Dalgaranga mine site, we look forward to continuing to support the existing and highly experienced workforce on site through this transition, as well as creating employment opportunities for the Gascoyne region community.”

Karara CEO, Changjiang Zhu, said: “NRW is an established Western Australia-based mining and civil contractor with extensive open-cut mining experience gained through a number of successful mining operations in the state. Offering new prime equipment, NRW has the capability to undertake the entire Karara scope of work comprising a broad range of mining, construction and engineering services.

“We look forward to negotiation of an agreement with NRW and commencement of mining services early next year.”

Interact Analysis forecasts slow haul truck electrification uptake in open-pit mining

The electric revolution looks to be well and truly underway in the mining space, with underground mines of all sizes planning, trialling, or ordering various battery-electric machines to help them decarbonise their operations. Yet, the latest report on the off-highway vehicle market from Interact Analysis has indicated the transition above ground will take a little longer than many anticipated.

Homing in specifically on the 85-t-plus global hauler/dump truck market – broadly applicable to the medium-large construction space and the small-large open-pit mining sector – the market research firm laid out estimates for the annual number of new truck deliveries to 2029.

The surprising aspect of this research was the continued dominance of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle deliveries over this time frame.

The team at Interact Analysis expected the adoption rate/market share to go from 100% in 2020 – when 1,330 new vehicles were delivered – to 96.2% in 2029 – when it expected 1,716 units to be delivered.

The growth is slightly extreme in this comparison, but is partially accounted for by a drop off in deliveries in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. For reference, in 2019, 2,065 units were delivered.

Included within the ICE stats are biofuel vehicles, which have been gaining prominence in the mining space as miners realise they can both reduce diesel costs and emissions by incorporating biofuels into their operating mix.

Over the same time frame – 2020-2029 – the analysts see “hybrid” trucks commanding zero percent market share, with no sales.

Fully-electric trucks fare better, moving from zero deliveries in 2020 to two in 2021, five in 2022, six in 2023; to 72 in 2028 and 67 in 2029. The fully-electric adoption rate moves from 0% in 2020 to 3.8% in 2029.

Among these new fully-electric dump trucks is an XCMG EDF531 90 t battery-electric truck that was on show at the Bauma China show late last year (pictured below).

Jan Zhang, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in China, said this dump truck has already been delivered to a customer.

“In fact, quite a few dump fully-electric trucks below 100 t have already been used in China (in Guangdong),” she told IM. “Many of these have payloads of below 60 t, but a few are 90 t, and are in trial runs, and a few have also been exported to New Zealand, using the LiFePO4 battery from CATL.”

There has been much talk about hydrogen haul trucks taking hold in the mining space. This has been catalysed by Anglo American’s plans to test a 291 t fuel cell electric vehicle, a conversion to hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery operation of a diesel-powered Komatsu 930E, at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa. If successful, these tests could lead to a rollout of 40 FCEVs across the global miner’s operations, it says.

Despite this, Interact Analysis’ research has no plus-85 t payload hydrogen trucks included in its forecasts to 2029.

Alastair Hayfield, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in the UK, explains: “Our statistics only look at new builds and not retrofits. My understanding is that the Anglo American vehicles would be retrofit (although there is limited detail at this point).

“Should some be new build, then we would update our forecast accordingly once we have better visibility.”

It’s worth asking the question: what about hydrogen trucks in mining beyond 2029?

Zhang said: “At present, mining trucks are mainly used in medium and large-scale coal and metal mines, and the use scenario is mainly for downhill heavy payload applications. That is to say where mineral resources are situated in a high up location, and it is necessary to load them from the mountain to the conveyor belt or transfer vehicle (the short distance transportation path is generally 2-3 km).”

She said mining truck electrification is mainly driven by two factors, with the first being operational cost advantages.

Jan Zhang, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in China

“For example, a mine truck with a total weight of 90 t will cost $45,000-75,000 in standard fuel annually, whilst the cost of electricity is only a third of the cost of fuel under the same circumstances, which means that $30,000-45,000 can be saved in the annual cost, not to mention other costs which are also higher for ICE mine trucks such as repair and maintenance,” she said.

The second factor is environmental protection and policy promotion.

“In China, the ‘National Green Mine Construction Specification’, issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources, has been implemented since October 2018,” Zhang explained. “This measure will surely help to grow the market share of hydrogen trucks in China, although the overall percentage will remain small.”

The last category included in Interact Analysis’ research was “Others” in the global hauler/dump truck market for 85-t-plus vehicles.

No deliveries for this category were registered in 2020, but the company anticipates one delivery in 2021, followed by three in 2022 and five in 2023. This gets as high as eight deliveries in 2025, but, by the end of the forecast period (2029), this category still commands 0.0% of the total.

So, what trucks fit into this category?

Hayfield explained: “We’re talking about diesel-electrics that will enter service into a trolley line operation – we essentially have to make an estimate on how we think the vehicle will predominantly be used. This is analogous to what we do in our on-highway research where we have to make estimates on how class 8 trucks are used for different applications ie long haul, distribution, vocational applications.”

This is not to say there will be no trolley assist trucks coming into the mining space, but, as far as Interact Analysis is concerned, these will not be new trucks coming out of the factory destined to head onto trolley lines. They will more likely be AC drive trucks that are retrofitted later for trolley assist operation.

When consolidated, these numbers show an underlying trend.

Back in 2019, there were 2,065 truck units delivered to the market in this 85-t-plus category, but, even out to 2029, this level is not reached, according to Interact Analysis.

Alastair Hayfield, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in the UK

In 2020, total deliveries dropped to 1,330 and, in 2021, Interact Analysis sees this rising to 1,545 units. A continual rise is expected in the years following, but it only reaches 1,783 in 2029.

What about beyond this timeframe?

Hayfield answered: “You have two fundamental pressures: a growing, resource-intensive population and a need to re-use/cut consumption because of environmental and/or legislative pressure. I suspect we will continue to see the growth of new mines throughout the 2030s in developing regions, fuelling demand for new trucks. However, I suspect we will see increasing pressure in Europe and North America on sustainability and the need to re-use materials and, hence, a slowing in the opening of new mines.”

This means demand for new trucks could start to drop during the 2030s in Europe and North America, he deduced.

This is not an exhaustive look at trends in the open-pit mining dump truck market – it is more of a taster – but Interact Analysis plans a detailed, mining specific study later in 2021. Such analysis could include forecasts for the retrofit market, providing the complete picture mining industry onlookers are after.

Bell B60E truck bridges the RDT, ADT divide

Bell Equipment says it is continuing to push new boundaries in the mining industry with its 60 t crossover concept, the B60E 4×4, having an impressive balance between off-road performance, productivity, and fuel economy.

Designed to provide a crossover of both rigid dump trucks (RDTs) and traditional ADTs, the B60E has a single rear axle instead of the more typical double axle while retaining the traditional ADT characteristics of all-wheel drive, and articulation steering with an oscillation joint, Bell says.

According to Bell Equipment Product Manager: ADTs, Nick Kyriacos, this gives the B60E far better capabilities in challenging conditions compared with RDTs.

“The oscillation joint keeps all the wheels in contact with the ground allowing for consistent all-wheel drive performance,” he said. “If an RDT fleet owner is looking for more flexibility or is forced to stop production due to unfavourable conditions, then the B60E is a great solution for them. The truck has operated side-by-side with rigid dump trucks on several sites where it has proven it capabilities. Additionally, customers running a mixed RDT and B60E fleet are able to standardise on one loading tool whilst retaining a high level of flexibility when deploying their equipment.”

In comparison with traditional ADTs, Kyriacos explains that there are customers who do not need the level of off-road ability that their three-axle ADT counterparts provide.

“In these cases, the B60E offers a level of productivity never seen before,” he said. “There is negligible tyre scuffing on the 4X4 ADTs, which is a major wear point for the middle and rear axles of three-axle trucks.

“Some of our leading customers have experienced the B60E achieving more than double the tyre life of their 6×6 counterparts in the same application. The B60E’s tyre life also exceeded that of similar sized rigid dump trucks in the same application by 60% due to a combination of its all-wheel drive configuration, whilst the oscillation tube ensures that all wheels maintain even contact with the ground along the entire haul cycle.”

Kyriacos added that the company has sold a number of B60s to ADT customers in various parts of the world who are running them successfully and noting the increased productivity and tyre life.

Far larger than a conventional ADT bin, the B60E’s flat-bottomed 35 cu.m body resembles a rigid-truck bin in its dimensions and geometry, according to Bell. This makes it fully compatible with existing loading equipment in mines and quarries and assures a 2:1-heap of coarse blasted material, Bell says.

“The shape additionally allows the loading tool to easily place bucket loads evenly within the bin for efficient loading, which is not possible in comparable ADTs in this size class,” it said.

The truck has proven its versatility on customer sites moving rock, ore, and sand over extended haul distances, according to Bell, managing short, steep gradients, tight turning circles and poor underfoot conditions during inclement weather.

“To date, the average fuel consumption of all B60Es ever sold is less than 24 litres per hour,” Kyriacos said. “Carrying a 55,000 kg payload per cycle at that fuel economy, coupled with the extended tyre life, the B60E achieves the Bell design philosophy by continuing to deliver lowest cost per tonne solutions.”

In addition to cost efficiencies related to economies of scale and a highly economical drivetrain, the B60E is loaded with safety features incorporated into the truck as standard, including Hill Assist, Safe Tip, downhill braking control and automatic traction control.

Other standard features include auto-greasing systems, rear-view camera, on-board diagnostics, and Bell Fleetm@tic® telematics with full production data reporting.

Sandvik trialling Stage V engine technology at Boliden’s Tara mine

Sandvik is continuing its sustainability drive, announcing that it is trialling its first Stage V compliant underground truck at the Boliden-owned Tara zinc mine in Ireland.

The company, in December 2019, launched its first Stage V compliant underground LHDs for hard-rock mining applications following extensive testing. Back then, it said its newest intelligent loaders, the Sandvik LH517i and Sandvik LH621i, would receive the Stage V treatment in early 2020.

Now, Sandvik’s flagship truck, the TH663i, equipped with brand new Stage V Volvo Penta engine technology, is undergoing an extensive field trial period at Tara, allowing the company to obtain first-hand customer feedback on its technical and operational performance. Sandvik said this was “an integral part of Sandvik’s way of working and customer-focused mindset”.

The Stage V engine in the 63 t truck is expected to deliver lower emissions, contributing to reduced mine ventilation rates.

“Designed to fit seamlessly together with the truck and to perform specifically in underground use, the engine system includes built-in fire prevention solutions, increased wiring protection with shrink mesh wiring harness and electric hardware that is specifically designed for demanding conditions, with corrosion, heat and water resistance,” it said. “The new Stage V, requiring ultra-low sulphur fuel and low-ash engine oil to operate, will be an optional engine for the TH663i.”

To reduce particle emissions in the lower Stages/Tiers, standard engines on both the TH663i and TH551i trucks can be equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), according to Sandvik. The company explained: “Based on studies conducted, the optional sintered metal DPF reduces particle mass by approximately 99%. From a reliability and maintenance viewpoint, the DPF is well protected but still designed for easy cleaning to reduce downtime and operating costs. The DPF is also available as retrofit kit.”

Pia Sundberg, Product Line Manager for Trucks at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says thorough field tests are valuable to both the OEM and customer: “We want to allow enough time for sufficient testing of new technology, since it is of benefit to both sides.

“Possible hiccups that can often occur when developing something new are identified prior to the product being fully commercialised, which enables us to serve our customers better in the long run.

“Based on the feedback that we receive, we are still able to do some modifications if necessary and thereby make sure that the TH663i meets expectations when it is released to the market with the latest engine technology at a later stage. Of course, there is also some additional new technology on the test truck that we are testing at the same time.”

The TH663i also benefits from the recent improvements in Sandvik’s AutoMine® offering, as AutoMine for Trucks now enables autonomous truck haulage not only underground but also on the surface.

Sandvik said interesting glimpses into the company’s future truck offering have also been seen in Australia, where the Artisan Z50 battery truck from Sandvik carried out an extensive tour in early 2020 and gathered customer feedback for the new upcoming battery generation.

The company has also recently deployed a Z50 into Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine, in Nevada.