Barrick, Sandvik partner for BEV truck trials at Turquoise Ridge

Credit: Sandvik Group

Barrick and Sandvik have entered a partnership agreement for trialing and enhancing battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard-rock mining.

During a three-year production trial, Sandvik will deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine, part of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture (JV) between Barrick and Newmont.

Nevada Gold Mines is the single largest gold-producing complex in the world, forecast to produce between 3.4 million and 3.65 million ounces of gold during 2020.

The Z50 haul truck, with a 50-tonne payload capacity, is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik.

In phase 1 trials, the Z50 truck already achieved more than 1,400 hours of production with over 1,400 loads

The truck is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed.

In phase 1 trials, the Z50 truck already achieved more than 1,400 hours of production with over 1,400 loads, Sandvik said. It reached production operation of up to 18 hours per day, with speeds of over 10 km/h observed on the ramp to the tip.

Some of the key performance indicators in the new partnership will include the performance of the BEV technology in a production environment, mechanical availability, average lifecycle cost and overall production cost.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our performance, both in terms of sustainability and operational efficiency,” Mark Bristow, Barrick CEO said in a press release.

“This partnership with Sandvik is exciting and will give us first-hand experience in BEV technology in our own production environment. It is a significant step to furthering our BEV strategy across the group.”

“The purely battery-powered truck helps to reduce heat and emissions underground, helping mines reach their sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs. This raises the bar for what is possible and enables an all-new level of production and cost reduction for underground hard rock mines,” Henrik Ager, president of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said.

A dedicated site project team will be jointly working with the Barrick operations team during the trial period to ensure that all data is captured and the experience from both Sandvik and Barrick is used to ensure the uptime and productivity targets are met, Sandvik said.

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