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New mining task force launched to push electrification

CharIN (Charging Interface Initiative e. V.) has teamed up with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), to create a new task force that will deal with the technological difficulties related to the compatibility of charging systems for zero-emission mining trucks, and help expedite their roll-out.

The electrification of mining vehicles is seen as essential when it comes to achieving global decarbonisation goals. Mining vehicles are heavy polluters, producing between 30 to 80 per cent of the direct emissions found at a mining site whilst exposing workers to diesel exhaust emissions. 

ChaIN is a non-profit organisation that unites automakers, producers of charging stations, component suppliers, energy suppliers, and grid operators. With over 300 members it provides valuable and unique access to rapidly specify and test technologies. Recent achievements include being involved in developing the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) for heavy transport and the Combined Charging System (CCS) international standard for charging passenger electric vehicles.

Just like passenger electric vehicles and heavy transport, the mining industry needs its own high-power charging solution because of the sheer size of haul trucks and mining equipment in general. Early standardisation of charging solutions is a crucial step in accelerating the adoption of battery-electric technology on sites. This will increase operational effectiveness, dependability, and safety while minimising duplication in the charging infrastructure for mines all over the world.

“Developing an interoperability framework for battery electric equipment is a complex jigsaw that cannot be accomplished without a new level of technical collaboration across the mining and e-mobility industries,” said Anna Wiley, Vice President, Planning and Technical, BHP.

The ICMM recognises this is a crucial stage in increasing the adoption of battery-electric technologies on construction sites while encouraging enhanced operational effectiveness, dependability, and safety. Its 26 company members offer mining sector knowledge as well as access to a variety of operations in various environments. This access is essential for testing to show that these technologies are suitable for challenging mining activities and environmental circumstances.

“Through ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative, we’ve identified technical bottlenecks affecting progress in implementing zero-emissions vehicles at mining operations globally, that we’re now creating partnerships to drive progress on,” said Christian Spano, Director of Innovation, ICMM.

Participants in the task force, including BHP, Rio Tinto, Shell, ABB, and GHD, will lay out the specifications, pilot the solutions, and assess their technical viability in mining contexts. This will help define the specifications for a dynamic (in-motion) charging interface and a higher-power stationary charging socket to be used on mining sites.

Future uses of this technology may go beyond mining and include other industries like rail, aviation, construction, and marine, which all need ruggedised charging systems and high-power charging.

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