Speaking at the Resources Technology Showcase, in Perth, Western Australia (WA), this week, BHP’s Chief Transformation Officer, Jonathan Price, said from the trial of light electric vehicles at its Olympic Dam mine, in South Australia, had come back with positive results and it would soon expand testing to its iron ore and nickel businesses in WA.
“The Olympic Dam trial is providing us with valuable data and information to understand how we may continue to electrify different forms of transportation, and material movement in our operations,” he told delegates.
“Early results indicate significantly reduced maintenance time, and very positive operator feedback on the vehicle – not only are they smooth to drive, they’re quiet – and with no diesel exhaust and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”
BHP worked with Adelaide-based Voltra on the light electric vehicle trial at Olympic Dam, with the technology company developing a 100% electric drive LandCruiser 79 Series (pictured) to be put through its paces in full underground fleet operation.
Still on the theme of decarbonisation, last month, BHP announced four new renewable power agreements at its Escondida and Spence operations, in Chile. The contracts will displace 3 Mt/y of CO2 from 2022, compared with the fossil fuel based contracts they are replacing, according to Price.
He said the company was also “exploring options to do something similar” in Australia.
Price added: “BHP is currently in the market for innovative power solutions for our Eastern Australia Mineral Assets. We have received a positive response from the market, consulting over 40 different parties.”
He said the company expected to make a decision on this in the first half of 2020.
And, on the subject of Integrated Remote Operations Centres (IROC), which BHP has used to expand its use of automation and digitalisation, Price said the company is looking to expand its reach again.
“We launched our very first IROC here in Western Australia back in 2013,” he said. “Three years later we took the lessons learnt from this and built an IROC in Brisbane, overseeing our east coast coal operations.
“Now we have a centre operational in Santiago and have one planned in South Australia,” he said.