Tag Archives: R200

LDO Group’s Rokion battery-electric light vehicle refocus starts to pay off

LDO Group is making serious headway in deploying Rokion’s ground-up-design electric light vehicles across Australia, with the New South Wales-based distributor hoping to have three machine trials in place before the end of the year.

LDO is focused on the underground mining and tunnelling industries, specialising in systems, processes, mine planning and training. It has been the exclusive distributor of Canada-made Rokion battery-powered vehicles in Australasia since 2018, having deployed vehicles across the soft- and hard-rock space.

The latest Rokion deployment LDO Group is celebrating is at Agnico Eagle Mines’ Fosterville gold operation in Victoria where a Rokion R400 was recently shown off alongside a Sandvik LH518B at a launch ceremony at the gold operation.

Alan Ross, General Manager of LDO Group, said the R400 vehicle – a platform able to accommodate three passengers in a utility vehicle setup or up to 12 in a passenger crew variant – has been deployed as part of a six-month trial at the operation.

“They (the Fosterville team) plan to use this in a people carrier configuration,” Ross told IM. “It will transport people to and from the operation.”

Considering the ramp-supported Fosterville operation goes below 800-m depth, this will present a good test for the R400’s re-generation capacity and uphill performance.

Rokion says the vehicle, which has 100 kWh of battery capacity, was engineered for the demands of underground mining and is its most adaptive platform design, capable of transporting a large crew in mine applications. Like all Rokion vehicles, it incorporates lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry, which, the company says, is the safest battery chemistry currently available.

The vehicle heading underground at Fosterville was previously deployed at a coal mining operation in Queensland, yet Ross says LDO Group is now re-focusing its efforts on the hard-rock mining space.

This has already seen the company partner with Newmont on an R400 deployment at its Tanami underground operation in the Northern Territory of Australia where it was initially used to transport team members up and down the mine.

Newmont said last year that early indicators had shown the vehicle had the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging.

Ross agreed with the Newmont assessment, explaining that the company was expected to re-deploy the same unit to the Tanami operation with an additional battery cooling module later this year.

“The ambient temperatures can reach 50°C in the Tanami desert, so we have equipped the vehicle with this new module to cope with such extremes,” he explained.

The company also has two R200 units – which include a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck – in Australia awaiting redeployment. One of these vehicles recently completed a successful stint at a tunnelling operation in the country.

LDO is also engaged with another mining company with an operation in New South Wales seeking to trial Rokion’s smallest battery-electric platform, the R100.

The R100 series includes a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck, with both models built on the same frame dimensions and available in ramp-ready configurations.

“We’re currently focused on these three key customers and supporting them in terms of the deployments and on-going operations,” Ross said.

In addition to regular site visits from LDO personnel to support maintenance and operations staff at the underground mines, LDO staff are able to remotely download data logs for these machines on a daily basis, assessing if there is potential for optimising the operation or if maintenance work may need to be conducted.

With many companies in the battery-electric light vehicle conversion space in Australia struggling to get hold of donor diesel vehicles, Ross says mining companies are increasingly appreciating Rokion’s ground-up approach.

“We have a fantastic OEM partner to rely on for these vehicles and we at LDO are able to support them in the best possible way,” he said. “We don’t have to rely on a different vendor to obtain the base machine; the design, engineering, manufacturing and testing are all performed under the Rokion roof, ensuring quality from concept to delivery.”

Ross said Rokion is continually working on design improvements and new machines based on industry feedback, with a newly-designed R200 vehicle set to bridge the gap between the existing R200 and the larger R400.

The latest in Rokion’s R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than previous models, Kipp Sakundiak says

Kipp Sakundiak, CEO of Rokion, was happy to provide more details of this to IM: “The latest in our R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than our previous models, all the while maintaining the simplicity and performance of dual drive motors.”

Sakundiak said the new model was robust and powerful, at the same time offering a comfortable ride for all crew members.

He added: “There is a lot of adaptability built into the new platform, including configurations for soft- and hard-rock applications. It’s one of our most versatile designs.”

Rokion battery-powered vehicles hit new depths at Vale Creighton

As Vale continues to go deeper at its Creighton nickel mine, in Sudbury, Canada, it is adopting alternatives to its fleet of diesel-powered haulage, loading and utility vehicles in a bid to lower operating costs and improve environmental conditions for personnel that could eventually be working nearly 3 km underground.

Vale’s PowerShift strategy, part of the miner’s 2030 sustainability goals, aims to make the company’s energy matrix “clean” by focusing on the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels, greater efficiency of operations using new technologies, and forest promotion. As part of this strategy, it will test and adopt existing ‘green’ solutions as well as develop technologies with the potential for greater impact on its carbon footprint.

This has involved the use of Rokion’s battery-powered personnel carriers/utility vehicles at Creighton.

The company has been working with Rokion for close to two years after placing an order for three of its vehicles for the Creighton mine. Alongside these vehicles are other battery-powered haul trucks, loaders and production support machines supplied by the likes of Epiroc and MacLean Engineering. All these machines are being added to the fleet as the company looks to access deeper, more ventilation-constrained areas of the mine.

Todd Van Den Enden, Process Superintendent at Creighton Mine, told IM recently that the Rokion R100, R200 and R400 units had been “very well received at Creighton Mine” and the company had moved forward in purchasing more of these units to further its battery-electric vehicle development at the operation.

The units are currently used by Vale’s service groups – such as industrial mechanics, electrical and planning departments – and generally run for the entirety of a 10.5-hour shift.

The ramps at Creighton, which go from 15-20% on both the incline and decline, according to Van Den Enden, will aid the continual operation of these battery-powered machines. Equipped with lithium-iron phosphate battery technology, the Rokion units recharge their batteries on descent thanks to regenerative braking. This translates to not only a longer operating time without charge, but also greater savings per vehicle over the life of the mine, according to Rokion.

Rokion trucks can navigate mine sites with 20% grade at a full gross vehicle weight and full speed while traveling more than 70 km per charge, according to the company. This is more than enough to get through a full shift without charging.

This means the vehicles are typically only charged after the 10.5-hour shift is complete at Creighton, according to Van Den Enden. The larger R400 (pictured), which includes a six- to 12-passenger crew truck and a three- to nine-passenger utility option, has completed two shifts on a single charge during testing.

When charging is required, the Rokion units can rely on existing mine power infrastructure, with the charging procedure no different to the way people top up the charge on their Tesla vehicles, Rokion says. The company worked within the Global Mining Guidelines Groups’ BEV guidelines to design this standardised system.

Vale’s Van Den Enden said the operation of both the R100, which includes a four-passenger crew truck and two-passenger utility truck option, and the R200, which has a four-passenger crew truck and two-passenger utility truck option, has “exceeded our expectations”.

He explained: “We have roughly 1,200 hours on these units and we see advantages with the availability.”

While availability is a key selling point, Rokion says its battery-powered vehicles have been designed for simple and easy maintenance. The modular change-out options – which extend to both the battery and drive system – are “ideal for remote mining locations where the priority is to have dedicated service personnel with expertise in production mining equipment”.

Rokion explained: “A mine is not going to hire an expert in battery power when introducing a new truck such as this, so we take that aspect out of the equation, compartmentalising our battery systems into a modular form so that they can be easily switched out.”

Mine operators can visualise the operation of their vehicle assets by accessing a live fleet management system that streams data between the truck and site operations team, according to Rokion. This helps customers identify vehicles that are low on power or may need servicing. Customers also have the option of having this data routed to Rokion for additional support, the company says.

“Managing this data into useful information has become a valuable tool in helping to improve operational efficiencies for our customers,” the company said.

While there is the very real prospect of Rokion selling more units to Vale’s Creighton operation, it is also working with the miner on refining its latest R400 unit, which, it says, was engineered to be the company’s most adaptive and modular truck platform.

Van Den Enden said the R400 unit was just finishing up the testing phase with the Creighton mining department, with the machine having performed well. He said the two firms were currently working on a “minor update” for the next series of this unit.