QMEB ยป Mining giants fast-track environmentally friendly heavy vehicles
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Mining giants fast-track environmentally friendly heavy vehicles

Cat 793 electric truck
Cat 793 electric truck

Major mineral producers have together accelerated their transition away from fossil fuel powered trucks.

BHP and Rio Tinto recently collaborated on implementing large battery-electric technology across multiple mine sites.

Two Cat 793 haul truck will be trialled at BHP operations during the second half of 2024 while two Komatsu 930s will do the same at Rio sites from 2026. Each heavy vehicle will undergo battery testing, and both static and dynamic charging system, to assess performance and productivity across the Pilbara region. Fast-tracking the technology is promised to help BHP and Rio achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

“There is no clear path to net zero without zero-emissions haulage, so it is important that we work together to get there as quickly and efficiently as we can. Testing two types of battery-electric haul trucks in Pilbara conditions will provide better data, and by combining our efforts with BHP, we will accelerate learning,” Rio iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said in a public statement.

“Replacing diesel as a fuel source requires us to develop a whole new operational ecosystem to surround the fleet. We need to address the way we plan our mines, operate our haulage networks and consider the additional safety and operational considerations that these changes will bring,” BHP president Australia Geraldine Slattery added.

Carbon emissions from diesel powered mining equipment and rail locomotives represented 12 per cent of Rio’s scope one and two emissions during 2023. Diesel combustion carbon emissions accounted for about 40 per cent of BHP’s scope one and two emissions in fiscal 2020.

Meanwhile, Fortescue Metals Group recently received Liebherr’s first hydrogen-powered Europa T264 haul truck prototype in Perth.

The heavy vehicle boasts a 1.6 megawatt per hour battery, which Fortescue WAE developed in-house with 500 kilowatts of fuel cells. The unit is promised to store more 380kg of liquid hydrogen. The exhaust only emits water vapour while operating.

“We are aiming to transport Europa to our mining operations within the coming weeks where it will undergo further site-based testing and commissioning. The subsequent test results will inform our future fleet of zero emissions trucksr,” Fortescue CEO Dino Otranto said.

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