CAPITAL equipment manufacturer, Sandvik, expected to make more electric underground mining units than diesel-powered in about 10 years, said Reuters citing the firm’s mining business head, Henrik Ager.
“In the past two years we have gone from thinking that electrification might turn into a great technology shift to becoming certain that’s where we’re heading,” said Ager.
Around 60% of an underground mine’s energy consumption is for infrastructure, which is mainly electrified, but loaders and trucks, carrying up to 65 tons of rock, still run on diesel, said Reuters.
Ager said electric machines should be fully proven to work in mines and be discussed in all procurement in two to three years.
Reuters cited Guillermo Peigneux Lojo, an analyst for investment bank UBS, as saying that electrification would bring lower emissions and savings for mining companies.
“In the years to come we shall see an accelerated replacement cycle for especially underground mining equipment, although surface equipment will also benefit from solid growth rates,” Peigneux Lojo said.
It could take time, however, before fully electrified mines, the newswire said.
“Let’s say we start selling more electric than diesel in 10 years … before most diesel has been swapped for electricity, it’s been more like 15 to 20 years,” Ager said, adding Canada has moved farthest due to tough diesel rules.
The Swedish firm, whose equipment uses lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, expects to offer a full range of underground electric loaders and haul trucks by 2022.