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BHP unveils first fully electric Jumbo at Olympic Dam

BHP’s Olympic Dam copper, gold and uranium mine in South Australia. Credit: BHP

BHP has unveiled a fully electric Jumbo at Olympic Dam to support the company’s target to reduce operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including by minimising reliance on diesel.

The 28.7-tonne, 14.5-metre long battery-electric Epiroc Boomer M2 “Jumbo” will be powered by a 150kW traction motor and 150kW battery system, eliminating GHG emissions from diesel, BHP said in the statement, adding that it will be tested for efficiency, productivity and comfort over the 12-month trial period.

Jumbos are used in underground mining development to drill holes, which are then loaded with explosives and open up new areas. Post-blasting Jumbos install large bolts to stabilise mine walls. BHP currently operates 16 Epiroc Jumbos at Olympic Dam.

The fully-electric Jumbo will also break new ground in its user experience by reducing noise and vibration, and eliminating heat and the emissions of diesel particulate matter.

“The world is going to need a lot more of South Australia’s high quality copper, and the team at Olympic Dam is behind our push to produce that copper more sustainably,” said Andrew Harris, General Manager at Olympic Dam mine.

“Collaboration with supply partners like Epiroc will be critical to developing the technology required to reduce emissions, while ensuring we continue to improve the safety and productivity of our operations. I can’t wait to see what this new fully-electric Jumbo can do,” Harris said.

BHP has a medium-term target to reduce operational GHG gas emissions by at least 30% by FY2030, from an FY2020 baseline. Approximately 40% of BHP’s operational emissions in our FY2020 baseline year came from diesel-powered vehicles.

The trial of the Jumbo also supports BHP’s efforts to minimise the operational impact of diesel particulate matter in underground mining operations by 2025, as part of BHP’s participation in the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative.

The fully electric Jumbo trial builds on electric vehicle initiatives at Nickel West in Western Australia, Olympic Dam in South Australia and BMA’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland. BHP is also collaborating with Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu to develop zero-emissions electrified haul trucks, and battery-electric locomotives with Wabtec Corporation and Progress Rail.