Implementing the Transition from Diesel Mobile Equipment in Surface Mining

Published: January 11,2024

Surface mining operations face specific challenges in transitioning from diesel equipment. We can’t simply invest in battery electric vehicles or hydrogen power or trolly systems and expect it to work. There are different technologies to consider, along with infrastructure, regulatory requirements, training, and other needs to ensure that any investment made to move toward the realization of emission targets and overall net-zero goals isn’t wasted. That’s why the industry must work together to develop a roadmap and good practices for how to successfully navigate this transition.

A guideline for Implementing the Transition to Non-Diesel Equipment for Surface Mining will help provide direction and specific approaches, and identify best practices to help facilitate the process. This guideline is currently being developed, and is in the “definition” phase as working group participants narrow the focus to specific perspectives from within the mine, such as:

  • Operations, including energy management and infrastructure, change management, standards and regulations, workforce, and supply chain;
  • Maintenance, including maintenance training and upskilling, safety, charging and charging scheduling; and
  • Technology, including identifying the right solution, availability and reliability of technologies, interoperability, and risk management.

From hydrogen fuel, big and small trucks, BEVs, and even conveyors, there’s so much to dissect to prepare for and drive toward this transition for existing and new mines.

Opportunities To Participate

This project needs: 

  • Subject Matter Experts to participate by sharing knowledge and experience to provide input to the project’s development and content
  • GMG Members to join the steering committee to lead the project

Upcoming workshops:

  • In-Person: September 4th in Perth, Australia
  • Virtual: Dates coming soon! Watch this space for updates.


Project Updates

Key requirements and considerations to focus on while preparing the implementation of new technology to replace diesel equipment in surface mining operations were identified and discussed during recent virtual workshops. 

Some key topics and questions from the discussions include: 

  • Infrastructure: What kind of infrastructure will be required to accommodate new technologies? There are going to be limitations on expanding the infrastructure, so we need to align on what that will look like. 
  • Economics/business case: What are the economic risks of this transition? How can mining companies justify the economic decisions that need to be made since no one wants to invest in something that might generate a loss or negatively impact production? 
  • Workforce and training: Training, skills, and responsibilities could be different. We need to be able to get the workforce ready to use this new equipment, taking into account safety, maintenance requirements, new certifications, and failure modes. 
  • Change management: We need to understand how to manage the introduction of new technologies that may be in their infancy. Do our KPIs to reflect the transition phase? 
  • Technology options: We need to determine how to make a choice (i.e., do we use hydrogen, BEVs, etc.?). What’s available in the market now and what will be in the future? The decision will have to consider different factors, such as whether the operation is a brownfield or a greenfield, safety risks, economics, regulations, etc.  

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