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Swedish firms advance mine electrification

ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc to develop underground truck trolley Metal Tech News – October 6, 2021

In another move to attain its vision of being the most climate-friendly and respected metals supplier on the planet, Boliden has teamed up with global technology company ABB and mining equipment manufacturer Epiroc to develop and demonstrate an electric trolley truck system on a test track at its Kristineberg underground mine in northern Sweden.

The system developed by this trio of Northern European-based companies, which will enable heavy transportation with electrically driven battery trucks, is expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions and improve the work environment at Boliden's underground copper-zinc mine.

Basically, this test system will involve Epiroc's Minetruck MT42 Battery all-electric underground haul trucks equipped with a trolley pantograph, the device commonly seen on top of metropolitan streetcars that connects the vehicle to an overhead contact power line.

"We are very proud to enter this collaboration and are excited to jointly take the next steps on Boliden's journey towards a fossil-free, automated underground mine," said Lars Bergkvist, global key customer manager with Epiroc's underground division. "Our electrification solutions are well proven globally and contribute to substantial reduction of CO₂ emissions, leading to a smaller environmental footprint."

The rest of the trolley system will be built from the technologies and equipment provided by ABB, an electrification and automation company that has been electrifying mines for 130 years.

The electric trolley truck system design, definition of standards, and vehicle interface, as well as a rectifier substation that will transform alternating current to the appropriate direct current for the test track, are among the components ABB will be bringing to the demonstration project.

This electrical infrastructure is part of ABB's Ability eMine integrated portfolio of electrification and digital systems designed to accelerate the decarbonization of the mining sector.

Unveiled by the company in September, eMine is a portfolio of electrification technologies that makes the all-electric mine possible and is integrated with digital applications and services to monitor and optimize energy usage.

This includes the eMine Trolley System being implemented at Kristineberg to eMine FastCharge – high-power electric charging for haul trucks that is currently in the pilot phase and is expected to be commercially available next year.

As advanced as ABB is when it comes to electrification, digitization, automation, robotics, and motion technologies, the Swiss company understands that the rapid transition of the mining sector to zero-carbon solutions requires collaborations between original equipment manufacturers and the key suppliers of mining-related technologies.

"ABB is supporting mining companies' electrification strategies by working together with OEMs, such as Epiroc, and many other technology innovators to build an interoperable system and help fast-track the development of emissions-reducing systems," said ABB Global Head of Mining Max Luedtke. "No company can do this alone and through our recently-launched ABB Ability eMine portfolio we can ensure electrification and automation of the whole mining operation, combining solutions with others to lower CO₂ and move towards a more sustainable society."

The collaboration to develop an electric trolley mine truck system at Kristineberg also includes the Swedish government, which is helping to fund the project through Vinnova.

An innovations agency under the Sweden Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Vinnova provides funding that allows to experiment and test new ideas before they become profitable.

Three Swedish companies working together to develop technologies that could help mines more sustainably meet the growing global demands for metals is at the core of Vinnova's mission of contributing to sustainable growth through innovation.

"As part of the eMine framework and commitment, we can combine expertise to successfully integrate electrification in mines, and we're proud to see this being pioneered in Sweden with some of the industry's foremost companies," said Björn Jonsson, hub manager, process industries at ABB. "We contribute with solutions that further reduce overall costs and improve mine performance while significantly lowering environmental impact."

Upon completion of the electric trolley mine truck system trial, Boliden plans to install an electric trolley system in the Rävliden mine, a satellite orebody and extension of the Kristineberg mine.

In addition to mining equipment, ABB is developing electrification solutions for street, fleet, and racing vehicles.

More information on a rapid EV charger developed by ABB can be read at ABB unveils fastest EV charger on Earth in the October 6, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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