Ottawa, Quebec invest in mining EV tech
Fund development of first electric heavy surface mining vehicle Metal Tech News – Nov. 4, 2020
Last updated 11/5/2020 at 5:21am
Ottawa and the Quebec provincial government are contributing nearly C$3.6 million to support Propulsion Québec's efforts to advance electric haul trucks, battery technology, and fast charging infrastructure for Canada's mining sector.
"We're helping mining companies lower their emissions by investing in onsite emissions reduction technologies, and they're helping us by powering the clean technologies we'll need to reach net-zero by 2050," said Canada Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O'Regan.
Propulsion Québec, a group aimed at positioning Quebec as a leader in developing and implementing smart and electric transportation, is already making headway on development of the first electric heavy vehicle for Canada's open-pit mining industry.
With a dearth of electric-powered heavy-duty trucks capable of standing up to the difficult operational and climate needs of Canada's open-pit mines, Propulsion Québec has collaborated with Innovative Vehicle Institute, Adria Power Systems, and others to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a 40-ton Western Star mining truck. The project also includes developing a battery solution technology and a fast-charging infrastructure adapted to mining operations.
"With the support of the Innovative Vehicle Institute and the National Research Council of Canada, Propulsion Québec is pleased to have been able to bring together the key partners needed to electrify the first heavy vehicle for the open-pit mining industry," said Propulsion Québec President and CEO Sarah Houde.
The electric mining truck and associated solutions developed will be tested and validated in a rock quarry in the town of Val-d'Or, as well as a graphite mine to be developed in the province by Nouveau Monde Graphite, a forward-looking company planning to build Canada's first all-electric open-pit mine.
Graphite, such as that to be mined at Nouveau Monde's operation about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of Montreal, is the single largest ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
"Quebec is well on its way to shifting to electricity, and the project announced today falls perfectly in line with our commitment to produce commercial electric vehicles," said Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon. "I am even more excited by the fact that the prototype will be used in a graphite mine, graphite being a key element in the development of Quebec's battery industry."
Part of Nouveau Monde's aims of having an all-electric mining fleet at its graphite mine is to offer a carbon-neutral source of this lithium-ion battery ingredient.
"With companies like Nouveau Monde working toward all-electric mines and producing the critical minerals we need for advanced batteries, we are positioning Canada's mining industry as a progressive, sustainable global producer of critical minerals needed for the transition to a clean energy future," said Paul Lefebvre, parliamentary secretary to the Canadian minister of natural resources.
Each 40-ton electric mining truck such as the one being developed by Propulsion Québec has the potential to eliminate the burning of more than 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of diesel and more than 220 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
"We are pleased to support this project that falls perfectly in line with our government's vision to electrify the Quebec economy, the transportation sector in particular, with the dual objective of reducing our greenhouse gases and stimulating our economy," said Quebec Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change Benoit Charette. "Given our desire to foster sustainable mining development in Quebec, we will be following this project with great interest!"
With the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifying the importance of mining and other resource sectors to Canada's economy, the federal and Quebec governments are committed to building a clean energy future that supports these vital industries through this tough economic time.
"We are very pleased to support this electric heavy vehicle project that shows great promise for the sustainable development of the mining industry," said Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien.
This support includes a C$2 million federal investment by Natural Resources Canada's Clean Growth Program – a C$155 million investment fund for clean technology research, development and demonstration in Canada's energy, mining and forest sectors; C$1.5 million from Quebec's INNOV-R, a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province; and C$100,000 from Société du Plan Nord, which promotes mining, energy, tourism and cultural development in northern Quebec.
"As part of our strategic vision for mining development, we are looking to prevent and mitigate environmental impacts," added Julien. "This collaborative project, supported by Société du Plan Nord, will certainly help in achieving this objective."