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Mining giant will ‘eliminate’ diesel through battery electric, renewables

Daunia coal mine trucks
Daunia coal mine trucks

A major resources producer decided to phase out fossil fuels and introduce more environmentally friendly alternatives.

BHP recently revealed all mine sites would begin transitioning away from diesel, and roll out battery electric heavy machinery in the New Year.

“Our preferred pathway is to eliminate this diesel by electrification through battery electric equipment. This technology does not yet exist at scale … [and] when equipment is available we will run trials at our sites to validate assumptions,” head of carbon management Graham Winkelman said in a public statement.

“We expect to have our first Caterpillar truck for on-site trials in 2024 and will move to trial Komatsu soon after. Following successful trials current estimates are that commercially available battery electric equipment will be available at scale by the end of the decade.”

Electric haul trucks and other equipment will be optimally deployed in a “site-by-site approach”. Renewable power sources will also be considered.

“This will require additional renewable generation and battery storage as well as upgrades to electrical transmission and distribution systems,” Winkelman said.

Competitor Anglo American has already set 100 per cent renewable energy targets.

“At the end of 2022 our scope one and two emissions were 21 per cent below the peak levels of 2019 – a significant reduction that reflects our transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity supply across our South America operations, with Australia to follow in 2025,” the proponent said in its latest sustainability update.

“In southern Africa we are working in partnership with EDF Renewables to build a 3 gigawatt (GW) to 5GW renewable energy ecosystem of wind and solar generation capacity.”

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