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.