The Brucejack gold-silver mine in Northwest B.C. is poised to transition to a fully-electric underground vehicle fleet.
In its 2021-2022 financial report to investors, Newcrest Mining announced its trial of three Sandvik Z50 battery-electric trucks was successful and is proceeding with acquisition of a further four units to completely replace the diesel fleet.
“The new fleet will improve truck productivity, lower unit costs and enhance operational efficiency from planning to production,” the report states.
The company says eliminating the diesel engines will abate approximately 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions through to 2030.
Additionally, at the time the company commissioned the Sandvik trucks, it said there are other associated cost savings.
“On top of the sustainability improvements with battery-based mining, another major benefit of electrification is the amount of money that can be saved on initial capital and operating expenses, including construction of ventilation shafts and the cost of operating ventilation systems,” a November 2021 press release stated.
Newcrest anticipates the new trucks will be in operation by the end of December.
According to the financial report, this is part of a process optimization program that has also seen improvements in workplace safety and mining efficiency.
The company reported for the 2022 fiscal year a rate of 5.6 recordable injuries per one million work hours, the mine’s best safety performance on record. It said “synergy benefits” from the performance (based on integration of processes with the Red Chris mine) are now anticipated to be $20 - $30 million annually up from the previously estimated $15 - $20 million.
Similarly, Newcrest has identified further savings of $15 to $25 million per year through its innovation and high-performance program.