Vale to transition Creighton deep zone to all-electric fleet – by By Kelsey Rolfe (CIM Magazine – May 2018)

Vale will swap old diesel equipment at Creighton for electric, and develop Upper Kelly Lake, Victor projects as fully electric mines

Vale Base Metals is transitioning its Creighton deep zone to an electric vehicle fleet, and designing its future greenfield operations to be all-electric.

As vehicles in Creighton’s deep zone fleet reach the end of their life, they will be replaced with battery-powered vehicles, beginning this year with an explosives loader and three personnel carriers. Next year 11 new pieces of battery-powered equipment will be brought into operation deep underground, Samantha Espley, the general manager of the mining and mineral processing technical excellence centre at Vale Base Metals, told CIM Magazine.

“This trend will continue as we replace old diesel equipment with a new battery-electric fleet,” she said. In addition, its Upper Kelly Lake project, adjacent to the Copper Cliff mine, and its ultra-deep Victor deposit, next to Glencore’s Nickel Rim Deep, are currently being designed as fully electric mines.

At a depth of 2.5 kilometres, Creighton is Vale’s deepest operation. Moving to an electric fleet will help reduce the heat and diesel contaminants at depth, and reduce the mine’s ventilation needs, said Cheryl Allen, the principal engineer for ventilation at Vale, who has been involved in decisions about which mines would benefit from battery equipment.

Vehicles in operation in the upper areas of the mine will remain diesel, and diesel equipment purchased more recently for deep zone work will also continue to be used. The mine already has some trolley-trucks, which are connected to, and draw their power from, an overhead electrical bar, similar to a streetcar.

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