Sandvik begins trials of its largest BEV underground mining truck

Sandvik begins trials of its largest BEV underground mining truck

Sandvik has partnered with mine owner AngloGold Ashanti to hold the first trials of its electric TH665B underground mining truck. 

The 65 tonne prototype truck is being tested by hard rock underground contract miner Barminco at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam in western Australia. 

As well as producing zero diesel emissions underground and generating 80 per cent less heat, the Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 25 per cent faster on a 1:7 ramp than regular diesel trucks.

Darren Kwok, Head of Electrification and Technology for Barminco’s parent company Perenti, said he is excited to see just what the new Sandvik BEV can achieve.

“As a business, we are focused on how we can support our clients to decarbonize their mines and trialling equipment to support this is a critical part of our strategy,” he said. “Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) not only have the potential to lower carbon emissions, they can also improve the underground environment for mine workers and boost the efficiency of operations. With the longer haul ramps and the harsh Australian operating conditions, it will be put to the test. We’re looking forward to trialling the Sandvik TH665B and putting it through its paces.”

The mining industry got its first glimpse of the Sandvik TH665B when it made its debut at the World Mining Congress in Brisbane, Australia, earlier this year. Developed on the back of more than 40 years of electrification experience, the machine uses lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) battery technology. The electric driveline delivers 858 hp of continuous power, allowing for high acceleration and shorter cycle times. 

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Sandvik will have four technicians on site who will support the machine throughout the trial, as well as provide operator and maintenance training to the teams on site.

“We’re delighted to be working with AngloGold Ashanti and Barminco on these trials,” said Andrew Dawson, Business Line Manager for Load and Haul at Sandvik. “The data that we gain from seeing the prototype interacting with Australian conditions will be invaluable as Sandvik continues to develop its battery-electric range and as the Sandvik TH665B moves into commercial production phase.”

Sandvik TH665B specs

  • Max payload: 65 tonnes
  • Standard dump box: 36 cubic metres
  • Overall length: 11.6 metres
  • Overall width: 3.5 metres
  • Overall height: 3.6 metres
  • Speed: 1:7 ramp-loaded: 9.6 km per hour

A zero emissions goal 

Barminco’s parent company, Perenti, is working in collaboration with several partners towards a fully electrified, zero carbon dioxide and zero diesel particulate mine.

“We believe BEVs like this one have a critical role to play in the electric mines of the future and supporting decarbonization,” Kwok said. “In this trial, two areas we will be monitoring closely are the ramp speed and the contribution to emissions reduction. Sandvik has said that a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B will be up to 25 per cent faster on a 1:7 ramp than a conventional diesel truck, so we will be keen to see that in action.”

Battery self-swapping

Dawson said another key feature of the Sandvik TH665B is battery self-swapping. 

“It is equipped with AutoSwap, our patented self-swapping system, which makes the battery changing process extremely fast and easy, usually taking only three minutes,” he said. “It also allows the operator to stay in the cabin during the process, and there’s no need for major infrastructure like overhead cranes.”

Sandvik BEVs offer a range of economic, sustainability and health and safety benefits. From an economic perspective, they can increase productivity and muck pile performance, reduce cycle times and lower operation, ventilation and cooling costs. In terms of sustainability, BEVs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and promote fuel independence. 

“There are major benefits from Sandvik BEVs for operator health and safety thanks to reduced diesel particulates, less noise and vibration and a reduction in heat generation,” he said.

The Sunrise Dam

AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine is located 220 km northeast of Kalgoorlie and 55 km south of Laverton in Western Australia. Underground mining is carried out by Barminco under an alliance contract and is the primary source of ore following the cessation of mining in the open pit in 2014. The underground mine produces about 2.7 million tonnes of ore annually, which is supplemented by low-grade stockpiles generated during open cut mining.