Electrification of the mining industry makes progress

Source: Engineering news

Date: April 26, 2024

Multinational technology company ABB recently announced its collaboration with Boliden and Epiroc in the development of a fully battery electric truck trolley system.

Said to be the first of its kind, the underground hauling fleet electrification system has been tested on an 800-m-long track, with a 13% incline, in Sweden.  The technology is seen as a leap forward in the electrification of the mining industry. The electrification of processes and operations contributes to a reduction in carbon emissions in efforts towards more sustainable mining as well as improving the health and safety of industry workers.


By deploying this system, the collaboration partners aim to prove that the underground working environment can be significantly improved, with less emissions, noise and vibration while reducing the total cost per ton.

“The most important thing for us is of course that the technology works in our own operations, but we also see added value that we together with our partners can drive technology development so that the system can be used in other mines. We are proud to have taken this concept to a live installment,” said Boliden GM Boliden area Peter Bergman


Each partner has contributed specific expertise to the development process. Epiroc has added dynamic charging to its battery-electric Minetruck MT42 SG and battery system, and the trolley solution is equipped with ABB’s DC converter, HES880 inverters and AMXE motors to enhance the power. The truck features a trolley pantograph connected to an overhead catenary line, a concept which is specifically suited to long haul ramps. The electric trolley line gives additional assistance to the battery-electric mine truck on the most demanding stretches up-ramp while fully loaded, enabling further reach and battery regeneration during drift, which helps increase productivity for a mining operation.

ABB created the infrastructure from grid to wheel, including the electric truck trolley system design and the rectifier substation for the test track. The definition of standards and vehicle interface was jointly developed by the project partners.

ABB collaborated with its partners to build a digital twin to simulate all scenarios with a solution that could adapt to voltage fluctuations along the system. The result is a dynamic trolley system, with intelligent switchgear, measurements, and transparency with the inbuilt ability to adjust power where and when it is needed. 

“In a short space of time, we have implemented and delivered technology to not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but substantially extend travel distance for battery-electric-driven vehicles on heavy ramp haulage, reduce operating costs, and improve the health and safety of mining environments,” said Epiroc president: underground division Wayne Symes.

Boliden says it plans to implement a full scale, autonomous electric-trolley system in the Rävliden mine, a satellite orebody and extension of the Kristineberg mine, and has placed an order for four Minetruck MT42 SG trolley trucks from Epiroc



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