Canada’s Goldcorp to make Borden an all-electric mine

Canada’s Goldcorp (TSX:G) (NYSE:GG) believes the days of diesel fuel use on mine sites are numbered as the world’s-fourth gold producer by output steps up efforts to build its Borden mine, the company’s first fully-electric operation.

The Borden underground mine will use an electricity and battery-powered underground fleet, which is expected to eliminate all greenhouse gases associated with the movement of ore and waste rock.

Located near Chapleau, Ontario, about 160 km west of the company’s Porcupine mine, Borden will use an electricity and battery-powered underground fleet, which is expected to eliminate all greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with the movement of ore and waste rock, equal to roughly 50% of the total GHGs on site, or 5,000 tons of CO2 per year, the company says.

To make this vision a reality, which will also reduce maintenance and energy costs, Goldcorp has partnered with Sandvik Mining and MacLean Engineering. The companies will provide a range of key technology, from battery-operated drilling and blasting equipment, to electric bolters, personnel carriers and ultimately a 40 metric tonne battery powered haul truck.

With the decrease in emissions comes a reduction in underground ventilation needs, the gold miner says, adding that its Borden Mine will require 50% less ventilation than a baseline diesel underground mine.

“As much as 15% of site operating costs come from consumption of electricity, diesel, propane and natural gas so focusing innovation efforts toward a big cost driver makes obvious business sense,” Brent Bergeron, Goldcorp’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, said in a statement.

More upfront capital costs, but big payoff down the road

He noted that while the move means more upfront capital cost, the benefits to health, safety, and environmental performance makes the investment worth it.

By moving away from diesel, Goldcorp will avoid more than 7,500 tons of CO2 and cut 3 million litres of fuel.

"By moving away from diesel and by achieving other reductions associated with the use of clean technologies, Goldcorp can avoid more than 7,500 tons of CO2 and eliminate 3 million litres of diesel fuel, 1 million litres of propane and 35,000 megawatt hours of electricity every year," Bergeron said.

Borden, with an indicated resource of 1.6 million ounces of gold as per 2015, will rely on digital and smart controls, including tele-remote technology to maximize equipment use for continuous mining, and will also consider renewable energy such as biomass for heating.

Goldcorp is hopeful that demonstrating the numerous benefits of an all-electric site will be an example of leadership in innovation, clean technologies and health and safety that will soon be adopted by other mining companies.

Canada’s Goldcorp to make Borden an all-electric mine

Goldcorp has partnered with Sandvik Mining and MacLean Engineering, which will provide a range of key technology, including a 40 metric tonne battery powered haul truck. (Image: Sandvik Mining)