Volvo Trucks has teamed up with Swedish mining group Boliden to launch battery-electric trucks for heavy underground transport. Boliden is set to become one of the first companies worldwide to use battery-electric trucks in its mining operations. The trucks will offer several advantages, including no exhaust emissions, a safer workplace, and quieter working conditions.
As the mining industry continues to shift to more sustainable production methods, companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Diesel vehicles are the primary source of carbon dioxide emissions in mines, and Boliden is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. Electrification of transport is essential to achieve these goals.
The two electric trucks provided by Volvo Trucks will transport rock bolts and other equipment down into the mine. If all the trucks in the mine were electric, CO2 emissions could be reduced by more than 25%.
“This is an exciting collaboration in an environment with very tough demands; steep slopes, heavy loads and humid air that wears on the vehicles,” says Jessica Lindholm, project manager at Volvo Trucks. “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 own CO2 emissions, because the mining industry’s raw materials are used in our trucks.”
The first electric truck, a Volvo FH Electric, will enter service in 2023. It will be used to transport equipment, while the second truck will be used for the underground transport of rock and ore.
“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”, comments Dennis Forslund, project manager at Boliden. “In addition, the total amount of energy consumed in the mine will be lower as 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.”