Recommended Practices for Battery Electric Vehicles in Underground Mining – Version 3

Published: June 23,2022

Publication: 2022-06-23
Working Group: The Electric Mine
Status: Current

ABSTRACT

Abstract

As battery technologies advance, many companies are seeing the benefits of adopting battery electric vehicles in underground mining operations to achieve goals such as carbon reduction, improving the working environment, and mining at greater depths. This guideline describes recommended practices for the use of battery electric vehicles in underground mining. Its intent is to provide guidance and an overall discussion about the benefits, drawbacks, and planning needed to design and implement a battery electric vehicle fleet within an existing or new mine. It aims to strike an appropriate balance between standardization and innovation by providing key considerations, questions to ask, and guidance on where to look for further information. This guideline comprises seven core sections:
How adopting battery electric vehicles affects revenue, capital costs, operating costs, health and safety, and the environment are key considerations in building the business case and determining the scope of implementation.

When adopting battery electric vehicles, key considerations include mine layout and infrastructure, other electric equipment, personnel movement and parking, charging infrastructure, ventilation and cooling, training, risk assessment, and related safety concerns such as fire safety and emergency response.

The design of a battery electric vehicle comprises several different components and should integrate a strong relationship between the design of the electric motor and other components such as braking systems, electrical systems, control systems, and the drivetrain.

The rechargeable energy storage system (battery) is central to BEV operations. The battery storage capacity (energy density) limits the range that the BEV can travel or perform its task between charges and is the main obstacle when considering implementation, particularly in mining due to high vehicle weight and energy requirements.

Some mine operations will depend on the availability of fully charged batteries; therefore, sufficient design in the charging system is crucial. Key considerations include safety, incoming power system, and operations and controls. Selecting the right charging method (e.g., off-board charging, on-board charging, battery swapping) will depend on a variety of factors related to the operation’s needs.

Charging and connection interfaces can vary depending on the chosen charging method, region, and equipment design. Standardization is recommended as much as possible.

Once the electric mine is operating, data should be collected and analyzed to assess mine performance. The duty cycle can be more complex than it is for diesel vehicles because how the equipment gets the energy (i.e., the charging method) needs to be evaluated. Battery charging and swapping can also affect availability and utilization.

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