Battery electric in mining here to stay: Panel of experts talk future and challenges of emerging technology at Sudbury event – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – January 18, 2019)

The transition to battery electric vehicles in mining is well underway, but there remain technology issues that need to be addressed, said a panel of industry leaders in Sudbury, Jan.17. The discussion on electric vehicles brought a packed house to the Sudbury chapter of the Canadian Institute of Mining monthly general meeting at Science North.

The panel included Shane Wisniewski, general manager of mining projects at Glencore; Brian Huff, chief technology officer of Artisan Vehicles; Mike Mayhew, mine superintendent of Kirkland Lake Gold; Raphael Tiangco, superintendent of mobile fleet management at Vale; and Maarten van Koppen, senior project engineer at Goldcorp.

The panelists agreed that battery technology is the way of the future for deep hardrock mining, citing everything from cost savings, durability and health and safety. Tiango related his experiences underground when diesel was the dominant energy source.

“I’d come up, and blow my nose, and it was black. You don’t get that with electric because there are no emissions.” What was worse, he added, was that the particulate had been the cause of countless cancer and respiratory problems for career miners.

There are issues plaguing battery technology; mainly heat, duration of charge, conversion of existing diesel vehicles, and some safety issues. Van Koppen, who admitted he was sceptical about battery technology at first, feels it’s very safe now, with many internal systems to monitor the internal workings for heat, current, and damage.

For the rest of this article: