German-Swiss equipment maker Liebherr Mining plans to create a battery-powered truck fleet in partnership with Australia's Fortescue Metals Group, with the UK's Williams Advanced Engineering helping provide green drive technology.
An agreement signed today in Colmar, France at Liebherr Mining's plant headquarters, will see Fortescue acquire 120 Liebherr haul trucks for its mining operations. The first of the zero emission-haul units will be fully operational within Fortescue's mine sites by 2025.
Liebherr will supply the trucks, while Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) will work with WAE - which Fortescue acquired in May - on the green drives and battery-electric vehicle technology.
"The mining industry can't miss this opportunity," Andrew Forrest, the chairman and founder of Australian miner Fortescue Metal, said at the signing ceremony. "Mining is the biggest polluter on the planet, and we are at a point in human history where we can stop that."
"The heavy equipment [segment] can be one of the first industries to go fully green. All of these massive pieces of equipment can evolve, and are being designed to evolve. … Why can we not dream, of a peaceful pollution-free world?"
Fortescue noted in a statement that the commitment to acquire the 120 units represents approximately 45% of the current haul truck fleet at Fortescue's operations, and that truck haulage consumed approximately 200 million litres of diesel in FY21 and accounted for 26 per cent of Fortescue's Scope 1 emissions.
"This project provides an excellent opportunity for us to accelerate the integration of clean energy battery and fuel cell power systems into our mining equipment, which supports our vision and defined strategy to offer future zero emission equipment with the best suitable power train technologies," said Oliver Weiss, CTO of Liebherr Mining. "As a leader in green technologies for the international heavy industry and a world class mining owner-operator, Fortescue is an ideal partner for decarbonized mining equipment and technology initiatives, sharing the same vision as us."
The partnership will also assist the future evolution of the Liebherr business. "A mining product that will be developed through a close partnership of two tier one companies, including access to the latest zero emission technology, will create an immense industry opportunity and demand," said Dr. Jörg Lukowski, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Liebherr Mining. "It also supports our future investment as we expand Liebherr's already extensive manufacturing capability including at our truck facility in Newport News Virginia USA, and of course into our service and support network in Australia."
The deal will play out in phased segments, with a two-year joint development period enabling the development and integration of Fortescue's proprietary-owned power system into Liebherr's proprietary-owned base truck.
Liebherr will supply mining haul trucks to Fortescue in both battery electric truck and fuel cell electric truck configurations, in accordance with Fortescue's requirements.
President of the Administrative Board of Liebherr-International, Dr. h. c. Willi Liebherr said, "This partnership with Fortescue will draw from Liebherr's industry leading equipment and technology, as well as Fortescue Future Industries' expertise in green technologies, to deliver zero emission mining."