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ALROSA to convert its vehicle fleet to natural gas in move to cut emissions

Drilling blast holes at Yubileyny open pit, part of the Aikhal mining and processing division. (Image courtesy of Alrosa.)

Russian diamond miner ALROSA has launched a project to convert its vehicles from gasoline and diesel to natural gas to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost economic efficiency.

Expanded use of energy-efficient fuels across the corporate transport fleet is among the top priorities in improving the environmental profile of its production activities and reducing the human impact on climate, the company said in a media release.

In 2015, ALROSA began switching some of its vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG), one of the most cost-effective, eco-friendly and safe fuels available.

As of today, about 300 vehicles in Mirny and Aikhal are fueled by natural gas. By 2024, the company plans to expand the project to other assets and convert an additional 166 vehicles in Udachny and Lensk to natural gas, bringing the share of vehicles running on this fuel to 37% of its fleet.

This project has enabled the miner to reduce fuel costs by about 2.6 times per 1 km using natural gas, but also to cut greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalent by 13% per 1 km on average across the fleet running on this fuel (compared with gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles).

By 2024, investments in the project will exceed RUB 650 million ($8.81, according to the company’s estimates. Out of this amount, more than RUB 450 million was allocated from 2015 to 2020 to build the necessary infrastructure, purchase equipment and refit the vehicles.

“ALROSA has embraced a responsible approach to the global issue of climate change and is now making every effort to deploy energy-efficient and resource-saving technologies that will reduce the carbon footprint of its mining and production operations,” Polina Anisimova, Chief Ecologist at ALROSA said in a media statement.

“Under our 2021–2025 Sustainability Programme, we have undertaken to gradually and consistently reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and introduce climate risk management techniques over the next five years. If we want to achieve this goal, we need to carry out a number of projects and adopt modern technical and technological solutions. In this context, the transition from gasoline and diesel to natural gas is among our most important initiatives,” Anisimova said.