The Newmont Australia Tanami gold mine has this week begun trialling the use of an electric transport vehicle as part of its underground operations, with initial runs suggesting the vehicle is able to make repeated trips before needing to be recharged.
According to a Wednesday Facebook post from Newmont Australia, the Tanami gold mine located 540kms north-west of Alice Springs, has begun trialling a Rokion R400 as part of its underground operations.
The Rokion R400 – which is designed to transport a large mining crew – is already showing that it is capable of making several trips to and from the bottom of the mine without the need for recharing.
The Rokion R400 is designed and sold by Canadian company Rokion, a division of Prairie Machine, which is a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of battery electric vehicles and technical solutions for heavy industrial and mining industries.
Able to seat a crew of up to 12, depending on vehicle configuration, the 100kWh R400 boasts a top range of 129-kilometres with peak power output of 186kW and a mining ramp range of 69-kilometres.
Little else is known at this early stage of the trial, as neither Newmont nor Rokion have made any official statement beyond Newmont’s brief Facebook post.
Electrifying mining vehicles is seen to be one way of beginning to decarbonise the mining sector, and numerous efforts are currently in play around the globe, designing or trialling electric mining and support vehicles.
The Australian-made Bortana EV began deployment in late-2020, a converted Landcruiser made headlines back in mid-2019 and mining contractor Murray Engineering unveiled this year a light EV based on a a 79-series Toyota Landcruiser chassis fitted with a 40-50 kWh lithium titanate battery.
Murray Engineering was also behind an EV charging trial announced in late-2020, while Brisbane-based EV charging company Tritium revealed last month that one of its electric vehicle chargers has been designed to charge a fleet of battery electric vehicles at BHP subsidiary BMA’s Moranbah coal mine in Queensland.
Meanwhile, earlier this year mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale, along with Australia’s Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) industry body Austmine, launched the Charge On Innovation Challenge to invite technology innovators worldwide to develop new concepts for electric haul trucks that could be used on a widespread scale.
“METS and mining companies are united on the Challenge to reduce emissions across the supply chain,” said Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart in a statement.