Ore transport in underground slopes is an energy challenge. Boliden is now collaborating with Epiroc and ABB to build a system where battery-powered mining trucks collect electricity from a pipe in the roof.
A few kilometers from the Kristineberg mine, Boliden has found a new deposit called Rävliden. The plan is to transport the ore from a depth of 700 meters to the day fossil-free. But the batteries in Epiroc’s MT42 mining truck have time to drain before the heavy load reaches the surface. The solution is to install a trolley truck system, according to roughly the same principle as a wire bus.
– We will give the machine a support charge through this trolley line. A battery that would be enough to drive the truck fully loaded all the way to the surface would be too large to fit in the physical dimension of the truck, says Lars Bergkvist, global key customer manager at Epiroc Underground to Ny Teknik.
The MT42 model has a pantograph on the roof that folds up against a contact wire that is permanently installed in the roof of the mining ramp. ABB is responsible for the design of the entire overhead contact line system, everything from defining new standards to the line and the interface to the vehicle. They will also build a rectifier station for the test section. It is currently unclear exactly how long it will be.
– The ramp usually has a slope of about 12 percent, so it will be about six kilometers driving uphill. But the trolley line does not have to sit all the way, but when the mining truck comes to the surface, it can run on the batteries to tip off its load. And on the way down to the mine, the truck regenerates electricity on its own that fills the battery, says Lars Bergkvist.
“The trucks are a fairly cheap and flexible solution”
He sees it as bringing to life a technology that has existed before and modernizing it. At the same time, he believes that the collaboration between Boliden, Epiroc and ABB is the first example of this type of underground trolley truck system.
Lars Bergkvist says that there is great interest in the technology from other mining companies around the world. With electrification, the disadvantages of driving mining trucks on a ramp disappear.
The alternative is a vertical shaft where crushed ore is lifted by a lift, which requires a truck system down in the mine and probably another above ground. Such a solution would involve a large investment cost, and it entails a fixed installation that is not flexible. You can also choose different conveyor belt solutions, which is a middle way but also a fixed installation. It needs the support of trucks and even here it is required that the material is crushed.
– The trucks are a fairly cheap and flexible solution in relation to the other two, because they follow the ore where it should. In the past, the disadvantage of this type of incentive system has been the operating cost of diesel, along with all the exhaust gases generated by vehicles. For the trucks, they are the ones who consume the most diesel of the mobile machinery in a mine, he says.
In addition to the fact that the business will be fossil-free, the benefits of electric operation are a better working environment and also reduced ventilation costs. To this comes the speed.
– These mining trucks will be very fast. In previous journeys, it has been shown that they go uphill much faster than an ordinary diesel truck does, says Lars Bergkvist.
Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.
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