Tag Archives: Rokion

Newmont starts Rokion R400 battery-electric vehicle trial at Tanami

Newmont’s Tanami operation in the the Northern Territory of Australia has started trialling a new electric vehicle in its underground operations.

The Rokion R400 will initially be used to transport team members up and down the mine, the company said in a post on Facebook. The vehicle is equipped for the transport of 12 people and comes with a battery capacity of 100 kWh.

Newmont said the vehicle is fitted with good suspension and ergonomics, being designed for passenger comfort.

Early indicators show the vehicle has the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging, Newmont said.

“We hope the trial proves to be successful, and can become the starting point for the future of electric vehicles both light and heavy at Newmont Tanami,” it added.

This is not the first Canada-manufactured Rokion battery-electric vehicle to make an entrance in Australia. The company has previously tested both a Rokion R200 and Rokion R400 at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland.

Newmont, meanwhile, is in the process of expanding the Tanami operation through the Tanami Expansion 2 project. This is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

Caason Group and LDO Group to explore next gen underground mining tech developments

Caason Group says it and LDO Group are to explore next-generation technology to improve underground mining operations with a renewed commercial relationship.

LDO, based in New South Wales, Australia, is a mining industry innovator and tunnelling expert, according to Caason. It is has been the exclusive distributor of Canada-made Rokion battery-powered vehicles in Australasia since 2018, having recently helped introduce a Rokion R400 to the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance Broadmeadow mine, in the Bowen Basin.

“LDO also specialises in systems, processes, mine planning and training, which is aligned with Caason Group’s HardRock Coal Mining interests (mining lease in Tasmania),” Caason Group said.

HardRock Coal Mining Pty Ltd, established in 2011 by Caason Group, is set to become Tasmania’s premier coal exporter, Caason says. It currently leases a 27,000 ha site in the Fingal Valley from the Tasmanian Government. At full production, the mine will deliver an initial 1 Mt/y of export quality thermal coal, according to the company.

Vale’s Canada mines set for more battery-electric vehicle trials

By the end of 2020, Vale hopes to have upward of 20 battery-powered vehicles operating within its North Atlantic operations, according to Alex Mulloy, Mining Engineer within Vale’s Base Metals Technology and Innovation division.

The plan is for the electric vehicles (EVs) to be operating on a trial basis at its Creighton, Coleman, Copper Cliff, Garson and Thompson mines by the end of the year, with the company having already made significant headway on achieving this goal.

Vale is aligned with the Paris climate-change agreement, and committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, with a 33% cut in greenhouse gas emissions planned across the company by 2030. This is part of a strategy to invest at least $2 billion to combat climate change, which includes the use of battery-electric vehicles.

Vale has already tested Rokion’s battery-powered personnel carriers/utility vehicles at Creighton, while an Epiroc ST7 battery-powered vehicle and Artisan Z40 haul truck have been trialled underground at Coleman.

Mulloy said the green vehicles are going to be evaluated with feedback from operations, as well as operating data, to help Vale understand how they perform in terms of reliability, functionality and the benefits they can offer our people and the business.

The benefits from trials so far include:

  • Health and safety improvements for our employees underground: EVs are much quieter than diesel vehicles and produce less heat and zero exhaust emissions. “From an operator comfort perspective, EVs are certainly an improvement,” Mulloy said;
  • Cost savings: EVs can reduce underground ventilation demands and the associated operating and capital expenditure; and
  • Environmental benefits: EVs contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“EVs certainly complement the efforts of the business in terms of greenhouse gas and carbon reduction,” Mulloy said. “It’s a great technology. Not only does it enable operational benefit and improvement, it also contributes to our greater goals of reducing our emissions and the impact on the environment.”

Natalie Kari, Principal Engineer, Strategic Electric Vehicle Implementation, said: “Exhaust emissions from diesel engines are one of the larger contributors to environmental pollution. EVs are an opportunity to increase safety by improving operating conditions and creating a safe work environment. Reducing noise, vibrations, heat, greenhouse gas emissions, and diesel particulate matter, while improving air quality, contributes to creating an attractive work environment for top talent.

“With increased challenging mine conditions at depth, EVs also provide an opportunity to sustain productivity by enabling mines to produce in areas that otherwise may not be feasible without these benefits, contributing towards mining for years to come.”

These trials will help steer business investment decisions in future years, according to Mulloy.

“Over the coming months, a number of large prime mover vehicles will be delivered,” he said. “When those vehicles arrive, it will be an exciting step in the journey because most of the question marks around the performance of EVs relate to the large vehicles, so that’ll be a chance for us to really put this technology to the test.”

Kari added: “Our company’s next major steps include collaborating with internal and external industry stakeholders towards safe implementation, comprehensive trial data collection and validation of a robust model towards a final approved five-year implementation strategy. With any new technology, investment in our people will be a priority to ensure they are equipped with the tools necessary for successful operation and maintenance.

“It is thrilling to be a part of leading this effort in a time of increased innovation and environmental awareness,” she continued. “The movement from traditional diesel to electric vehicle brings a feeling of social pride in creating a healthier workplace.”

This is an edited version of an original story from Vale, which can be found here.

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.