Canadian Groups, Suppliers Collaborate To Electrify Open-Pit Mining Truck

By Chad Elmore03 November 2020

A collaborative endeavor in Quebec, Canada, has been announced that is expected to bring together research and industry leaders to develop technology for full-electric heavy vehicles adapted to open-pit mining.

The Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI), Propulsion Québec and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), in collaboration with Adria Power Systems, Dana TM4 and mining companies Fournier et fils and Nouveau Monde Graphite will work on the development of a new electric propulsion system with a rapid recharging infrastructure for heavy vehicles in the open-pit mining industry.

IVI, Propulsion and the NRC brought together select partners to help make the electric heavy-duty mine vehicle a reality.

Fournier et Fils, a recognized operator in the quarry and mine sectors, will provide the project with a Western Star 6900XD truck with a 40-ton load capacity, as well as its technical experts, who will assist the electrification experts in converting the truck to accommodate the new components. The motorization aspects will be developed by Dana TM4, a supplier of electric motors.

IVI will design the battery based on recommendations of the Global Mining Guidelines (GMG), and the NRC will evaluate and test it to ensure it meets the specific criteria of being inexpensive and adapted to the harsh conditions of open-pit mines.

The objective is to minimize operating costs, and this electric mining vehicle will be able to operate year-round, even in winter. To efficiently meet the truck’s power requirements and charging times, a high-power charging infrastructure will be developed by Adria Power Systems, which will also oversee battery assembly.

The selected technological solution will reportedly be designed to be adaptable for other types of heavy mining vehicles.

In addition to being cost-effective and viable, the groups expect the electric mining truck to generate highly positive environmental impacts for the mining industry and for Canada.

“This project demonstrates Propulsion Québec’s strength in stimulating intercompany knowledge sharing to foster the emergence of clean technologies,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for the Lanaudière Region of Quebec, where Nouveau Monde Graphite’s mine is located. “Quebec is firmly committed to going electric, and the project announced today is perfectly in line with our desire to produce electric commercial vehicles. The fact that the prototype will be used in a graphite mine, a key element in the development of the battery sector, makes me all the more enthusiastic.”

Nouveau Monde Graphite, one of the project’s mining partners, plans to use 12 electric trucks to save more than 80,000 L of diesel per year, thus reducing its GHG emissions by more than 220 tons (according to preliminary estimates). The company, located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Quebec, plans to become the world’s first 100% electric open-pit mine.

The prototype is expected to make its first real-world test runs in spring 2022 at a Fournier et Fils quarry and at the Nouveau Monde Graphite site.

Propulsion Québec is the province’s smart and electric transportation cluster aimed at positioning Quebec as a leader in the development and implementation of land transportation systems that promote smart and electric technology. Created in 2017, it has more than 180 members from a variety of sectors and deploys resources across seven distinct working groups to develop and support innovative projects.

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