Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), a Vedanta Group Company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc Mining India Ltd., a direct subsidiary of Swedish firm Epiroc Rock Drills AB to deploy Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) for underground mining.
Why Use Electric Vehicles for Underground Mining
The use of electric vehicles in underground mines is a relatively newer addition in comparison to surface mining. The larger vision in the mining industry is to have lower cost, low interference automated operations that should eventually be largely autonomous. Battery operated Electric Vehicles fit very well in this vision. Another important factor for transition to EV’s in underground mining is the reduction in cost of operations, mainly through reduced maintenance costs of the vehicles. Modern EV’s offer a great advantage in this area.
Adverse Effects of Diesel Vehicles in Mining
According to a report by Engineering and Mining Journal, large mining equipment currently makes up to 80% of the emissions at a mine (green house gas emissions). Also the underground distance to be covered is increasing day by day in mature mines, as deposits are becoming deeper and grades are declining.
Most of these vehicles are diesel driven and emit diesel particulate matter (DPM) which is a carcinogen and is more dangerous in closed underground environment. Diesel vehicles also contribute to addition of heat in this underground mining environmen.
Hindustan Zinc Adapting EV’s for Sustainable Mining Operations
Hindustan Zinc (HZL), in its press release stated that it will be the first mining company in India to introduce electric vehicles in underground mines after this initiative. This will help reduce carbon emissions, enabling the mine operations to be more environmentally friendly.
Expressing his views on the MoU, Mr. Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, said “This partnership with Epiroc fortifies our commitment to green and responsible mining and takes us furthers in the right direction to achieve carbon neutrality, in line with our emission reduction Sustainability Development Goal for 2025”.
Electric Vehicles adaption will solve a lot of problems and will help mining operations to be more advanced. Electric Vehicles when compared to diesel vehicles are more easy to evolve in terms of design for improved productivity.
Epiroc Heavy Electric Vehicles for Mining
Epiroc is a known name in mining machinery and vehicles market across the World and among the few companies that have started offering Electric battery-based mining vehicles.
Epiroc’c electric mining vehicles are powered by Li-Ion battery whose capacity is customizable according to vehicle and its usage. These batteries take around 50 minutes to charge from 0-90%. Along with this the batteries are swappable which helps in continuous operation of machines. The motors used to run these vehicles are supplied by ABB with power upto 200 KW.
Speaking on partnership with Hindustan Zinc Mr. Jerry Andersson, Managing Director, Epiroc India added “A safer and cleaner mining starts only if someone takes the first step. Epiroc has always been a leader in mining technologies. We showcase the BEV in underground mining with the broadest offerings and a mission to deliver the world’s greenest machines”. He further added “Our memorandum with Hindustan Zinc is a step on our mutual journey for a safer and more sustainable mining operation to come”.
Some of the major Heavy Electric Vehicle range for mining by Epiroc includes Scooptram ST14 loaders– Fully battery-operated electric loader with 14-tonne capacity, Minetruck MT42 trucks- 42 tonne load capacity trucks, Continuous Loader- a rubber-wheeled continuous loader with a capacity of up to 3.5 m³/min etc.
About Epiroc India Epiroc Rock Drills AB is a Swedish multinational mining machinery, vehicles and tools manufacturer. In India, Epiroc operates through its direct subsidiary Epiroc Mining India Ltd. with headquarter in Pune, Maharashtra, with marketing offices in all the major cities of India.