Artisan electric loaders head to Canadian gold mine


The Kirkland Lake Macassa Mine is expanding its fleet of electric mining equipment with the addition of two Artisan A10 battery-electric loaders.

The Macassa Mine, located in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, is one of the highest gold grade mines in the world.

While the mine has been operational since 1933, Macassa commenced operations in 2002, and with the discovery of the South Mine Complex (SMC), has been able to increase its level of production significantly over the past five years. In 2018, the mine produced more than 6,800 kg of gold.

The Artisan A10 is an electric 10 tonne capacity loader with zero exhaust emissions, designed for underground hard rock mines. Its carry capacity of 10 tonnes has been achieved while keeping its outer dimensions equal to current 7 tonnes diesel loaders.

The equipment is not constrained by mine ventilation limitations, as Artisan A10 uses the most powerful electric motors available and a patented lithium-iron phosphate battery system.

Use of Artisan Vehicle’s proven battery system, instead of traditional diesel engines, is connected with health and environmental benefits, as the loader produces less heat and zero exhaust emissions, reducing its carbon dioxide footprint.

Furthermore, the Artisan A10 delivers shorter cycle times through higher acceleration and faster ramp speeds, while utilizing regenerative braking to capture energy to recharge the battery.

According to Artisan, the A10 delivers 250 per cent more power, with a 30 per cent larger bucket than similar diesel loaders. Its traction motors deliver 724 hp and 3,024 foot-pounds of torque, while its auxiliary motor provides 167 hp and 516 foot-pounds of torque.

Artisan’s PitStop

The A10 also incorporates an automated battery exchange system called PitStop.

Pitstop allows the A10 to automatically drop off and pick up a fresh battery in just a couple of minutes. The A10 will use AI and camera systems to guide itself into a charging bay, executing the entire swap hands-free for maximum efficiency in just a couple of minutes.

Artisan claims the battery swapping ability will have next to zero impact on cycle times.

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“Our self-swapping system has been performing well in our pre-delivery tests, including its ability to safely reduce the time required for battery change, which will increase the equipment overall availability for productive work”, said Joe Giraldi, business development manager for Artisan Vehicles.

“In general, the thinking behind Artisan Vehicles ground up design is actually quite simple. Through our experience we have realized that in order to truly capitalize on this technology, it is not about replacing some components, nor redesigning some parts of the equipment, but you must rethink the entire machine and design it around the technology as opposed to trying to fit it in an existing product.”

The Artisan A10 loaders in question have been extensively tested at Artisan Vehicle’s facilities in California before taking them underground and to actual production work at the Kirkland Gold Macassa Mine in Canada. At Kirkland Gold, the Artisan A10 units went into production this fall.