Battery Electric Vehicles Underground

This project is a partnership between GMG and CMIC

Business Objective

Provide an overview of the BEV options currently available for OEMs and mine owners/operators dealing with underground mines, and serve as a discussion document on the unique challenges BEVs present for the mining industry.

Project Description

The BEVs project is a joint effort between Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) and the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), and was launched after a formal kick-off workshop in Sudbury in June 2016. A growing need for alternatives to diesel equipment led to strong stakeholder interest in the project. As a result, a large volume of volunteers completed what would normally be a two-year project in eight months.

Current project objectives are:

  • Treat published guideline as an overview of the available standards around BEV implementation in an underground mine; it can be used as a blueprint for vehicle OEMs, and be included by mining companies in tender documents to OEMs for mining vehicles. This will allow the OEMs to focus their R&D efforts in a direction suited to the mining industry.
  • Share best practices for designing a mine to maximize advantages of BEVs underground.
  • Strike an appropriate balance between standardization and innovation, while leveraging existing standards, including those from the automotive, electric, and any other industries that may apply.
  • Provide global scope, while also acknowledging that regional differences in standards and regulatory frameworks exist.

Business Case

The mining industry is now extracting mineral reserves at greater depths. As underground mining progresses to deeper levels, ventilation for a diesel mobile equipment fleet is becoming a greater challenge, while diesel particulate regulations are tightening in some jurisdictions.

Battery electric mobile equipment offers a unique opportunity to significantly reduce the ventilation requirements for a mine. At the same time, it can reduce operating costs and improve the environmental footprint. However, BEVs also present a new set of challenges for mine operators in terms of infrastructure requirements, maintenance and operating constraints.


  • Required mine infrastructure for charging of BEVs
  • Charging methodology – On board, off board or battery swapping
  • Charging interface standardization (connection and protocol between vehicle and charger)

Equipment Standards and Legislation

  • Lack of mining-specific standardization
  • Existing standards and legislation are geared toward diesel equipment
  • Differences between jurisdictions/regions

Mine Operation

  • Limitations with BEV energy density versus diesel
  • Mine layout considerations

OEMs and mine owner/operators are already investing in BEVs with little guidance or standardization for implementation. A guideline will address those challenges by offering a blueprint for mine design and equipment innovation up-front, providing solutions to electric mine problems before they occur.