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Komatsu power-agnostic mine truck alliance

Rio Tinto joins collaboration for future mine decarbonization Metal Tech News – August 4, 2021

Global mining company Rio Tinto Group and heavy equipment manufacturer Komatsu Ltd. have partnered to fast-track the development and implementation of zero-emission mining haulage solutions, with Rio offering a mine site for testing and Komatsu allowing first picks from its future lineup of power-agnostic trucks.

"Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world's largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008," said Alf Barrios, COO of Rio Tinto.

Working together to rapidly innovate in support of carbon reduction targets, Komatsu recently announced the formation of the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas Alliance, with founding members being Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco, and Boliden.

Through this alliance, Komatsu and its mining partners will actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing, and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure.

The alliance's initial target is advancing Komatsu's power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on various power sources, including diesel-electric, electric, trolly (wired), battery power, and even hydrogen fuel cells.

Komatsu GHG Alliance founding member Rio Tinto, which has already established a strong track record of implementing new technologies and innovations to combat the increasing damages due to heavy carbon effects, has offered up a mine site for testing Komatsu haulage concepts.

"Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonize our business," added Barrios.

And Komatsu is committed to meeting its customers' zero-emissions ambitions, from homeowners looking to do some landscaping to global mining companies looking to decarbonize their equipment.

"Komatsu has set a management target of reducing CO2 emissions from our products by 50% by 2030, and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Considering that electrification must be progressed in order to achieve this goal, we are considering various realization methods for each equipment model/class and region," the Japanese manufacturer penned in a statement on its decarbonization goals. "We have already made some progress – in mini-excavators the PC30E-5 with lead-acid battery was introduced as a rental equipment option in domestic Japanese market in April 2020. The next-generation model, a lithium-ion battery-powered electric mini-excavator is scheduled for mass production in 2022. From 2023 to 2024, we are targeting to start mass-production of electric hydraulic excavators in the small and medium-sized class. Regarding mining dump trucks, we will proceed with the development of "power agnostic" dump trucks that can operate with a variety of power sources – such as engines, batteries, trolley systems and hydrogen fuel cells – by 2030."

The formation of the alliance has brought together mining leaders willing to share time, resources, and information to deliver zero-emissions equipment solutions, the company said. Komatsu intends to expand the alliance to additional mining companies to enhance industry-wide collaboration on solutions to decarbonization.

Komatsu's initial concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on various power sources, as part of its power-agnostic development, is set to make its official debut at MINExpo 2021 on September 13-15 in Las Vegas.


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