Codelco says it will trial a Komatsu hybrid LHD at its El Teniente underground copper mine, in Chile, as the company looks to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas it emits from its operations.
The diesel-electric hybrid is likely to increase productivity by 10-20% and cut diesel consumption by at least 25%, Codelco said.
The LHD is just one of a number of pieces of new equipment the company is bringing into the El Teniente operation to reduce its carbon footprint. The others include an RDH-Scharf electric scissor lift (the Liftmaster 600 EB), which comes with operating costs 70% lower than the diesel equivalent; two 100%-electric buses to transport workers from Rancagua to the El Teniente operations (at 3,100 m high); and a 100%-electric bus link for urban use within Rancagua.
“Codelco’s electromobility strategy also contemplates the incorporation of an electric bus for the Chuquicamanta Division for the first half of this year,” Codelco said in a statement translated from Spanish to English. “In addition, El Teniente will add three additional electric buses during the year, a second LHD, this time 100% electric, and an electric mining truck for the interior of the mine.”
Octavio Araneda, a Vice President of Operations for Codelco, said (also in Spanish to English translation): “In the framework of our Sustainability Master Plan, in Codelco we execute a transition program to gradually decarbonise the energy matrix of our operations.
“An edge of this initiative is our strategy of electromobility that, after positively avoiding a pilot experience with light vehicles last year, today celebrates this new milestone with unprecedented production teams. ”
On the Komatsu hybrid LHD, Codelco said the electric drive machine has no gearbox or filters and uses diesel only for the generation of “motive power”.
“It will be used industrially for the first time in Codelco El Teniente to start marketing it to the rest of the industry internationally,” Codelco said.
Komatsu has, so far, released details on an 18 t hybrid LHD (the Joy 18HD) and a 22 t hybrid model (Joy 22HD). Last year, Byrnecut Australia said it was to trial a Joy 22HD at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in Australia in the June quarter of 2018, as it looked to test production efficiencies, diesel savings and overall costs associated with this equipment.
Codelco is hoping use of this hybrid LHD will bring down operating costs by 30%, increase the reliability and availability of LHDs by 10-20% – due to less engine hours, longer life and easier replacement of components – and reduce emissions and heat released by over 25%.
The company is after an even bigger boost in scissor lift use, expecting reliability and availability of the new machine to go up 20-30%, while the energy expenditure of the electric scissor platform is expected to be just 75-149 kW. Noise reduction is estimated at 70% compared with the diesel version, while the heat released is expected to drop 80-90% when compared with the diesel version.
The XMQ6130 eTech electric buses transferring workers from Rancagua to El Teniente have been manufactured by King Long in China and can hold 44 passengers, while the urban electric buses, also built by King Long, are the model XMQ6127e for up to 87 passengers.