As MacLean Engineering’s electric mining vehicles start to be deployed in real-world applications, work at the company’s Sudbury test site is helping to forge the next phase in mining’s transformation – by Devin Arthur (Electric Autonomy – January 21, 2020)

Last November, I visited a test site run by one of the world’s leading manufacturers of zero-emissions mining technology. MacLean Engineering’s Sudbury, Ontario facility is being used to test battery-powered electric mining vehicles, which the Canadian company has been working to develop since 2015.

The impressive site consists of a 300-metre long underground ramp and an excavated cavern, in which enormous electric vehicles are tested for levels of energy use and heat generation.

A deep history

Nickel and copper mining has been ongoing in Sudbury for over 100 years, so at this point many of its mines are quite deep. Typically, ventilation requirements for mines of a certain depth are significant.

Not only does one have to filter the air due to the dust being produced and diesel being burned, but you have to get rid of a large amount of heat generated by the vehicle engines. By converting equipment to electric power, the cost of ventilation shrinks significantly, as does that of vehicle maintenance, employee health, and of course, fuel.

The findings of this controlled study “will be used to help us build the awareness in the global industry about the benefits of the BEV switch and its immediate availability,” says Stuart Lister, vice-president of marketing and communications at MacLean.

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