An open source article by A. Halim. A major part of the European Union’s (EU) project Sustainable Intelligent Mining System (SIMS) is investigating the development of diesel-free/carbon–neutral underground mines in order to ensure sustainable underground mining in the future. Replacing diesel machines with electric vehicles in underground hard rock mines has been widely acknowledged by the mining industry worldwide as a critical step to improve working conditions by reducing diesel exhaust–related contaminants, to reduce mine ventilation electrical power cost by reducing mine airflow quantity, and to reduce mine greenhouse gas emissions. All of these are major requirements to achieve sustainable future underground mining practices. A field trial of Epiroc’s 2nd generation of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) at Agnico Eagle Finland’s Kittilä mine was conducted during 2019–2020. Vehicles tested were MT42 mine truck, ST14 Load-Haul-Dump (LHD), and Boomer E2 jumbo drill rig. This paper outlines the improvement of the working conditions observed in the field trial, and the opinions of the mine personnel at Kittilä mine on using BEVs instead of diesel machines. Measurements of atmospheric contaminants and air temperatures taken during the field trial clearly demonstrated a significant improvement of working conditions when BEVs were operating as opposed to diesel machines. This field observation was supported by the opinion of the majority of the Kittilä mine workers. However, some remaining concerns must be addressed before BEVs can replace diesel machines.


Last Updated: 26/02/2022 09:54:27am