Epiroc wins large equipment order for new all-electric mine in Ontario

Epiroc battery-electric mining equipment.

Epiroc has won an order from Glencore for battery-electric equipment and automation solutions, worth at least CAD$12.35 million, that will be used at what the company claims will be one of the world’s first all-electric mines.

Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations will use this new fleet of battery-electric equipment at Onaping Depth Project—an Ontario nickel and copper mine located below the existing Craig mine—which is expected to start production in 2024. The order also includes the capability for advanced automation solutions, including remote control.

“Glencore is taking a major leap forward in the mining industry by going all-electric with its Onaping Depth Project,” says Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s president and CEO. “We are excited to collaborate with Glencore and deliver battery-electric vehicles and automation features on their journey to build a mine of the future.”

Traditionally, mining machines are diesel powered, though more and more mining companies are adding battery-electric machines to their fleets. Epiroc claims battery electrification to be significant in eliminating emissions in operations, reducing noise pollution and lowering costs by lessening the need for ventilation and cooling when required, which the company views as especially important as underground mines continue to get deeper.

“Epiroc scored high on safety, design and testing of the entire battery system,” says Peter Xavier, vice president of Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations. “Epiroc also offers large capacity batteries, uses a standard CCS charging protocol, has a battery swap system, and the designs are universal and compatible.  Also, the batteries have integrated cooling systems and safety systems built into the design.”

The 23 pieces of battery-electric equipment ordered come from a manufacturing facility in Örebro, Sweden and include Scooptram loaders, Minetruck haulers, Boomer face drilling rigs, Boltec and Cabletec rock reinforcement rigs and Simba production drilling rigs—which can be operated in part through tele-remote from the comfort of a control room.

All of the units will be equipped with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, making them ready for automation and remote control. Also they will be installed with Epiroc’s telematics system, which is designed to intelligently monitor machine performance and productivity in real-time.