Trolley electrifies Copper Mountain Mine
Towing trucks out of pit is leaner, greener, more productive Metal Tech News – April 6, 2022
Last updated 4/5/2022 at 12:45pm
Faster, cheaper, and less carbon-intensive, a new 1,000-meter-long trolley assisting fully-loaded mining haul trucks out of the pit at Copper Mountain Mining Corp.'s mine in British Columbia is proving to be a successful step toward the company's goal to be a net-zero carbon emissions miner by 2035.
"We are proud to be the first open pit mine to commission electric trolley assist haulage in North America," said Copper Mountain Mining President and CEO Gil Clausen. "Through electrification and capacity increases, we are targeting to reduce our carbon intensity by 50 to 70% in the next five to seven years. We are also actively testing and researching renewable diesel, hydrogen, battery, and fuel-cell technology to power our haulage units to achieve our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2035."
As a key foundational step toward this goal, Copper Mountain contracted ABB – a global leader in electrification, automation, and digitalization for mining and other industrial sectors – to install the haul truck trolley assist infrastructure aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the southern BC copper mine.
Powered by BC hydroelectricity, this recently commissioned BC trolly that is giving trucks loaded with ore a tow out of the pit is significantly reducing the fuel consumed and GHG emissions at the mine.
Each Komatsu diesel-electric hybrid truck pulled and charged by the trolley is expected to displace more than 100 gallons (400 liters) of diesel per hour, which comes to about a metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions per hour. With seven such pantograph-equipped haul trucks at the mine, the reduced quantities of diesel going in and carbon dioxide coming out of these trucks add up quickly.
As an added benefit, the loaded trucks hooked to the trolley cruise out of the pit at around 22 miles (35 kilometers) per hour which is twice the speed of the diesel trucks lumbering their way up the ramp.
"This project stemmed from our goal to reduce our carbon emissions and make a meaningful change, while improving our costs and productivity," said Copper Mountain Mining Executive Vice President of Sustainability Don Strickland. "Diesel fuel for our 240t haul trucks is the largest source of GHG emissions at the mine and diesel cost is between our second and third largest cost item for the site. With clean hydro-electricity available in BC, the best way to achieve both the GHG and cost reduction objectives was to consider trolley assist technology when acquiring new trucks. Electric powered haul trucks will now travel up our haulage ramps at twice the speed, one tenth of the energy cost, and near zero GHG emissions."