A gauntlet has been thrown down by BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale – the world’s three largest mine operators – to accelerate the development of electric haul trucks for widespread global adoption in the surface mining industry.
The Charge On Innovation Challenge has been launched with mining equipment, technology and services industry body Ausmine to encourage technology innovators to pitch electric haul truck concepts.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 off-road haul trucks larger than 90 tonnes are in use worldwide, with some weighing 500 tonnes.
The sheer size and weight of these vehicles means electrification will have a substantial impact on reducing emissions from mining fleets, as well as bringing safety benefits.
Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs said the participants were confident that the Charge On Innovation Challenge would “find a solution to the delivery of electricity to trucks in the complex operating environment of a large surface mine”.
The building or converting of trucks is one thing but the real challenge lies in developing ways of ensuring they are able to remain charged through the full working cycle of loading, travelling, dumping, returning and queueing.
Vale ferrous engineering director Carlos Mello said the electrification project would require “considerable integration between mine planning and operations”.