ABB to provide underground fast chargers for CSA Mine

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Wednesday, 15 June, 2022

ABB to provide underground fast chargers for CSA Mine

ABB has announced it will provide an underground electric charging solution to power a new Epiroc ST14 battery electric loader at the CSA Mine (formerly owned by Glencore) in Cobar, New South Wales, as part of a solution that has the potential to be rolled out across other mining operations in future.

CSA Mine is trialling the use of battery-powered electric loaders, which are more than 2.5 m tall and capable of carrying up to 14 tons of copper each, as a direct replacement for diesel-powered load haul dump trucks. These haul around 50,000 tons of copper every year, but produce heat, noise, moisture and emissions, so the 2000-metre-deep mine must be kept well ventilated. Battery electric loaders can reduce emissions and costs, as well as improving operator safety and mine productivity.

“From electric vehicle batteries to solar panels, copper is a key element in delivering a zero emissions future. This is driving demand for copper, which is expected to grow by 350% by 2050. At the same time, manufacturers are increasingly focused on the whole lifecycle impact of their products, so need the entire supply chain to improve its environmental performance,” said Sean Stove, head of E-Mobility Division, ABB Australia. “Our innovative underground charging solution is just one of many ABB technologies helping the mining industry to reduce its carbon footprint and deliver the natural resources for zero and low-carbon power solutions as efficiently as possible.”

As the mine operates 24/7, downtime waiting for EV batteries on the dump trucks to be charged should be as short as possible. To provide power for Glencore’s battery electric loader, ABB created a bespoke fast-charging solution, situated 1000 m underground, to deliver 150 kW of DC power to fully charge each truck in less than one hour.

Based on ABB’s Heavy Vehicle Electric Charger technology, originally built to charge city buses, the customised plug-in solution is housed in an air-conditioned kiosk, rugged enough to withstand extreme operating conditions underground, including high ambient temperatures, humidity, vibrations and dust. The solution also includes digital tools such as ABB Charger Connect and ABB Ability Energy & Asset Manager, which allows Glencore to monitor its underground charging network and maximise its energy efficiency.

Peter Christen, General Manager of CSA Mine, said: “We are committed to reducing emissions across our operation and our investment in a battery electric loader is an important step forward. ABB has provided us with a fit-for-purpose fast-charging solution for the loader, which can significantly increase its efficiency by increasing the number of hours it can operate.”

Epiroc’s Brett Kenley, Electrified Solutions Product & Sales Support Lead, Australia/Asia Pacific, added: “We are proud to be part of this milestone project with Glencore in Australia to support their electrification journey. Our Scooptram ST14 battery electric loader is a 100% fossil-free loader for underground application. Its energy regeneration ensures low energy consumption and extends driving range. With the electric drive, this battery loader outperforms diesel equivalents, especially on grade.”

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