The tipping point for electrification is here – by Robert Hiltz (CIM Magazine – April 01, 2021)

Battery-electric vehicles are just one of the driving points for mining companies thinking about how they power their underground mines

Around five years ago, a change that was slowly happening in the mining industry began to gather speed: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) went from a curiosity to a compelling alternative to diesel fleets in underground mines.

The more that BEVs proved themselves at mines like Kirkland Lake’s Macassa and the more that were deployed in support applications (such as personnel carriers), the more attention the technology earned from miners and equipment manufacturers. Now, half a decade later, the industry finds itself at a tipping point: The question is no longer why use BEVs, but why not?

Some mines are looking at eschewing diesel equipment altogether, according to MacLean Engineering’s Anthony Griffiths, product manager of fleet electrification.

“Almost a year ago to the day, we had three requests for quotes come in from three different mining customers and two of them said, ‘When you submit your budgetary price, do not include a diesel alternative,’” Griffiths explained.

To him, and the rest of the MacLean team, this was a significant development. As he told the leadership at MacLean, “I think we’re on the cusp of something here, this is pretty exciting.”

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