Holy guacamole, it’s the Modern Mining Initiative. The recalcitrant Australian federal government is supporting electric vehicles by issuing grants to companies electrifying diesel vehicles in the mining industry. They have granted almost $10 million to Batt Mobile of Newcastle NSW and Elphinstone of Tasmania to develop electric mining equipment for underground hard rock mines. This will help remove the risk of toxic fumes, save money, and improve miners’ health and well being.
Batt Mobile commented: “This will catalyze the electrification of global hard rock mines, and deliver emission reduction, safety, and productivity outcomes. Securing local jobs into the future, we are ready to power on!”
The Australian mining industry is slowly shifting to the use of more and more electric machinery. In 2018 it was reported that Toyota was cooperating with BHP in a trial of electric Land Cruisers at several mining sites. They are using a Land Cruiser 70 that has been converted to electric. BHP is trialing the Relay BEV (from Miller Technology) at its Moranbah mine. All are being charged by Tritium high-speed chargers.
Toyota has inked a deal with Vivo Power to supply Land Cruiser bodies ready for the installation of an electric drivetrain. Vivo Power CEO Kevin Chin stated: “This partnership with Toyota Australia is a testament to the outstanding potential of Tembo’s technology to decarbonize transportation in some of the world’s toughest and hardest to decarbonize industries.”
Hopefully these trials will eventually lead to more global use of light electric vehicles in mining. With the rush of utes and pickups coming in the next two years, Toyota may find it may have left its run a little late. Rivians, Cybertrucks, and electric Ford F-150s may take up this lucrative niche market.
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