Miners, OEMs launch Electric Mine Consortium

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Thirteen miners and OEMs announced this week the launching of the Electric Mine Consortium, whose goal is to accelerate progress towards the fully-electrified, zero-CO2 and zero-particulates mine. 

The initial members of the Consortium include Sandvik, Epiroc, OZ Minerals, South32, Gold Fields, Safescape, Dassault Systemes, Energy Vault, Hahn, Horizon Power, 3ME, IGO and Barminco, who drew inspiration from the State of Play report from 2020, produced by consultancy firm VCI and The University of Western Australia.

The report is titled Electrification and it covers extensive research aimed at understanding the drivers and barriers of mine electrification while identifying the key enabling technologies and collaborations to accelerate its adoption

A working group will work on clarifying the supporting infrastructure requirements for all-electric equipment and vehicles while establishing OEM agnostic charging standards

According to the document, 57% of industry executives surveyed believe energy transition is the global trend that will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 15 years, while 89% expect mine sites to become electrified within the next 20 years and 61% think that the next generation of mines will be all-electric.

“Electrification creates enormous opportunities for operational cost savings, innovative mine designs and resilience against uncertainty. It will reduce the exposure to carcinogenic diesel particulates and reduce scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 100%,” the Consortium said in a media statement. “The value upside of this not only increases productivity in existing assets but also improves a company’s ability to unlock deeper and more remote ore bodies.”

The brief states that among the EMC’s goals is the creation of a working group that clarifies the supporting infrastructure requirements for all-electric equipment and vehicles, while establishing OEM agnostic charging standards by prototyping a potential open charging system.

“This working group will progressively convert a light vehicle fleet to battery-electric across multiple consortium mine sites,” Michelle Keegan, program director of technology development at South32, said in the release.

The team also plans to establish a greenfield electric mine, convert a full ancillary fleet to all-electric and test selected brownfield heavy EV applications. The final objective is to understand how to overcome current limitations for heavy BEVs in underground operations.

“Traditional asset design does not enable the realization of the full benefits of mine electrification. This working group is simulating a range of mines and mining methods to establish electrification performance benchmarks, a business case and future mine designs,” Brett Triffett, transformation technologist at OZ Minerals, said.