The company stated that innovations and ideas for future solutions are discussed and validated in customer forums, participated by several major mining houses, and organised by the equipment manufacturer Sandvik.
To support the development of pioneering solutions for mining houses' needs, Sandvik hosts customer workshops and forums as an effective and successful means of collaboration; this is a concept that has had outstanding results in Sandvik's previous development projects. Today, Sandvik understands customer needs for productive and safe mining with battery electric vehicles, and utilises these forums to discuss the changes, challenges, and opportunities that electrification is expected to bring to the mining industry. In order to exceed customer expectations and support their success in business, the requirements and wishes are carefully understood, and defined as critical requirements to be followed during the journey.
As part of Sandvik's customer validation process, the pioneering mining houses get their voices heard and needs analysed in discussion forums. One example of participants is Goldcorp, which presented its Borden Lake project in the recent Canadian customer forum; the world's first all-electric underground mine in northern Ontario, Canada.
The benefits that electrification and battery electric equipment are expected to bring - for the Borden Lake mine as well as any other operation planning to introduce new technology - will include, for example, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced diesel fuel consumption, and reduced power consumption.
Additionally, as diesel engines are replaced with battery electric solutions, underground mines will produce less heat, noise and exhaust gases, including diesel particulate matter. Thus, the innovative technology will result in decreased mine ventilation needs, which are currently a significant cost factor in deep and complex underground mines.
While Sandvik's customer electrification forum occurred recently, previous efforts have been instrumental steps in the journey to providing an electrified product offering to replace diesel. As Sandvik has previously pioneered products for the underground mining industry such as electric LHDs, remote control LHDs, and automation.
The company stated that the legacy continues as Sandvik aims to deliver safe, reliable and productive electrification technology solutions of the future. Learnings following two years of testing with the Sandvik LH307 battery prototype have been important building blocks to the knowledge bank which is guiding the ongoing R&D efforts, and have driven a clear understanding that successful electrification implementation involves much more than simply replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery. Thus, solutions in progress at Sandvik are based on a holistic approach of electrified equipment, ensuring that the final products make no compromises to performance.
Mats Eriksson, president of product area load and haul at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: "Finding new solutions to reduce heat and emissions in underground mines, without compromising the customer's productivity, is perfectly in line with our strategy safety first. Also the targeted benefits of battery electric vehicles speak for Sandvik's aim to align with the United Nations Global Sustainability Development Goals. We believe that developing battery electric technology is one of the future directions to take."