The Swedish mining group Boliden is becoming one of the first in the world to start using battery-electric trucks for heavy underground transport starting in 2023. In mining environments, electric trucks can deliver several big advantages – including no exhaust emissions, a safer workplace, and quieter working conditions.
The mining industry is today going through a period of rapid change, with many players shifting to more sustainable production methods to provide metals with a lower climate footprint. Just like in many other mines, exhaust gases from diesel vehicles are responsible for the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from Boliden’s mines.
The new cooperation agreement between Boliden and Volvo
Jessica Lindholm, project manager at Volvo Trucks, says, “The collaboration with Boliden will give us valuable knowledge about the performance of electric trucks when driven underground, and provide answers to questions about how the driveline and batteries are affected. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions for mining transport also means that we, indirectly, will reduce our CO2 emissions, because the mining industry’s raw materials are used in our trucks.”
The first truck to serve the Kankberg mine, a Volvo FH Electric, will be used to transport rock bolts and other equipment down into the mine and will be put into service in 2023. Based on the experience with the first truck, another Volvo FH Electric will later be put into operation and used for the underground transport of rock and ore.
Dennis Forslund, project manager at Boliden, says, “We see the collaboration with Volvo as a fantastic opportunity to push the electric technology forward and at the same time learn how to adapt our operations for a transition to fossil-free underground transport. A major benefit of the trucks is that they will contribute to a more sustainable mine, both in terms of emissions and also the working environment for our employees.”
He adds, “In addition, the total amount of energy consumed in the mine will be lower as the electric drive is more energy efficient than a diesel engine, and it is possible to capture the electricity regenerated during engine braking on downhill slopes.”
Volvo Trucks offers six electric truck models in series production and is the market leader in heavy electric trucks in Europe and the USA. The company’s electric trucks can cover many different transport needs, ranging from urban distribution and refuse disposal to regional transport and construction traffic.