Iron ore leaders drive global electrification initiative

BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale have partnered with Austmine to deliver an electrification challenge for mining vehicles to push industry safety and sustainability.

The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a global initiative aimed at electrifying mine fleets.

The challenge will accept expressions of interest from May 18, with shortlisted candidates expected to pitch their concepts this year.

Contestants are expected to develop new concepts for large-scale haul truck electrification systems in an effort to boost safety and productivity while cutting down on emissions.

The challenge is anticipated to attract interest from resources companies across the globe looking to innovate with electric haul truck fleets.

BHP president, minerals Australia Edgar Basto said innovations from the challenge could provide immediate solutions.

“We expect the Challenge will stimulate innovative ideas, some of which could be immediately applied to existing diesel- electric equipment and help fast-track implementation of longer-term solutions. We understand that these challenges will not be solved overnight, but together we can find the best concepts that can be applied across the industry,” he said.

One area of innovation that’s expected is the charging stations for electric mine trucks.

The time taken to charge electric mine trucks with current charging systems would result in significant productivity losses.

The mining industry instead requires concepts to deliver 400 kilowatts per hour of charging to prevent any productivity losses today’s charging stations.

Austmine chief executive officer Christine Gibbs Stewart said mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies would come together with the challenge to reduce emissions.

“METS and mining companies are united on the Challenge to reduce emissions across the supply chain,” Stewart said.

“With 80 per cent of METS companies supplying products and services outside mining, the challenge leverages the experience and innovation of industries in the automotive, battery makers, aerospace, defence and other sectors.”

“We are confident that we will find a solution to the delivery of electricity to trucks in the complex operating environment of a large surface mine.
“We expect the challenge will attract companies from a broad range of sectors including mining, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and defence to deliver selected charging concepts to create a standard product that can interface with all trucks.”

Electric motors can provide zero emissions and also provide less maintenance issues due to a reduced amount of moving parts compared with traditional diesel engines.

“This is a global call-out to innovators to change the way haul truck systems operate in the mining sector. Innovation is the key to decarbonisation, and we expect the Challenge will deliver exciting new concepts that could drive huge long-term benefits for our industry and the environment,” Rio Tinto group executive safety, technical and projects Mark Davies said.

“Partnerships and collaborations across a diverse range of sectors can drive significant technological change. This is an important, industry-wide approach that has potential to create new jobs and opportunities for suppliers, both globally and locally.”

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend