Electric Vehicles May Play Crucial Role in Reduction of Greenhouse Emissions in Mining
Major mining companies around the world have pledged to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions, with many hoping to achieve carbon neutrality in the next three decades. Switching to battery-powered vehicles from diesel vehicles may help achieve these companies achieve this objective.
Many companies are already working towards electrifying their mining fleets, especially for underground mines where battery-powered or tethered dump, haul and load vehicles (LHDs) are becoming more popular. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, LHDs also considerably reduce ventilation costs.
Companies such as Kirkland Lake Gold and Newmont have pioneered the use of battery-electric vehicles (“BEVs”), with leading mining firms such as Vale, BHP and Rio Tinto striving to grow their electric vehicle fleets.
Kirkland Lake Gold first introduced battery-electric vehicles at its Macassa Mine in 2013, which led to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by almost 2,400t CO₂. By the year 2019, the Macassa mine had 9 haul trucks and 24 battery powered LHDs, with 80% of production of ore being conducted by battery-electric equipment.
Over in Canada, the Borden gold mine by Newmont was the pioneer fully electric underground mine in the world when it started commercial production a few years ago. This move eliminated 50% of aggregate greenhouse gas emissions on site.
Recently, Ivanhoe Mines revealed that its Kamoa-Kakula mine would be the number0one net-zero carbon emitter copper mine as its mining fleet is fully electrified, either through hydrogen fuel cells or electric batteries. While the mine is yet to commence production, it is expected to do so in the coming month.
Earlier this year, WAE entered into an agreement with Fortescue Metals Group to develop a zero-emission electric haul truck that will be used in mining operations. The company plans to develop a battery system that can regenerate power. This battery will be designed at the latter’s facility in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom before being ferried to Perth for integration and testing.
A poll conducted between March and May of this year has found that 30% of its respondents are of the opinion that using battery-powered vehicles may lead to a significant decrease in emissions from mining operations in the near future. This is in comparison with the 21% who expect that the biggest impact will come from the use of on-site renewable energy and 16% from vehicles that are hydrogen powered.
With regard to hydrogen, another top miner in the industry, Anglo American, is collaborating with Engie to build a hydrogen-based haul system. The company estimates that eliminating the use of diesel vehicles at its sites will decrease the greenhouse gas emissions by almost 14%.
The more companies opt for electric vehicles in the mining sector, the better it will be for sector players such as Asia Broadband Inc. (OTC: AABB) to choose exactly what suits their unique operational needs.
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