AngloGold Ashanti's Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia is currently hosting the inaugural trial of the Sandvik TH665B, the world's largest battery-electric underground mining truck.
This remarkable vehicle features an electric driveline with a robust 630kW (858hp) power output and is equipped with a 354kWh lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) battery, setting a new standard for sustainability in mining operations.
One of the standout features of this prototype Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) truck is its ability to transport an impressive maximum payload of 65,000kg while producing zero emissions and generating 80% less heat, potentially revolutionizing underground mining practices.
Andrew Dawson, the business line manager for load and haul at Sandvik, highlighted the myriad benefits of the TH665B, including improved health and safety conditions for operators due to reduced diesel particulates, less noise, decreased vibration, and minimized heat generation.
Moreover, this innovative BEV truck is expected to operate up to 25% faster on a 1:7 ramp when compared to conventional diesel trucks, offering increased efficiency in mining operations.
The trial of the Sandvik TH665B commenced on September 14th through a collaborative effort involving the mine's owner, AngloGold Ashanti, the hard rock underground contract miner, Barminco, and Sandvik.
Another noteworthy feature of the Sandvik TH665B is its patented battery self-swapping system, which streamlines the battery replacement process, typically taking only three minutes. Importantly, this system allows the operator to remain in the cabin during the battery exchange, eliminating the need for extensive infrastructure such as overhead cranes.
All parties involved in this trial are actively seeking solutions to decarbonize mining operations. Barminco's ASX-listed parent company, Perenti, is collaborating with multiple partners to achieve fully electrified, zero CO2, and zero diesel particulate mines.
Darren Kwok, head of electrification and technology for Perenti, expressed confidence in the role of BEVs in shaping the future of electric mines and supporting decarbonization efforts. He emphasized that battery-electric vehicles not only have the potential to reduce carbon emissions but also enhance the working environment for mine personnel and optimize operational efficiency.