Agnico Eagle, the parent company of Fosterville Gold Mine, recognises that climate change is one of the most pressing global issues facing our society. An important step to decarbonisation is the expansion and testing of battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
On 24 August, Fosterville Gold Mine launched trials of two battery electric vehicles, a Sandvik Battery Electric Loader and the Rokion R400 crew carrier built specifically for the underground environment. If the trial goes well, we will be transitioning to using these vehicles into the future, in order to achieve our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The launch was held at Central Deborah Gold Mine, an iconic tourist attraction, which is a living reminder of Bendigo’s rich gold mining history and bears testament to the role that mining has played in making the Bendigo region, and continues to play, in large part, due to Agnico Eagle’s operations at Fosterville Gold Mine.
FGM is the first mine on Australia’s East Coast – and only the second in the country – to trial the Sandvik LH518B underground battery electric loader. This trial is the first step towards a gradual transition to a fully battery electric loader fleet.
BEV’s have three key benefits specific to underground mining:
-No direct carbon emissions, which keeps the air cleaner within the mine.
-Less heat, which helps manage the temperature underground.
-Less noise and vibration, which improve working conditions for drivers and underground miners working near the vehicles.
In addition to the Sandvik LH518B loader, Fosterville Gold Mine will also trial the Rokion R400 battery electric nine-seater crew carrier. Agnico Eagle is an early adaptor of BEV technology with operations in Canada and Finland well advanced in the trial and use of BEV’s in underground operations.
“As a company, we’re committed to exploring new technologies to further enhance our extensive health and safety programs and to fully integrate sustainability into everything we do,” says Fosterville Gold Mine’s General Manager, Lance Faulkner. “And so, we’re delighted to be putting the LH518B into service at Fosterville. We’re interested to see just what kind of difference it can make in terms of efficiency and the underground working environment, and we look forward to working closely with Sandvik.”
Andrew Dawson, Sandvik Business Line Manager for Load & Haul, says that with the advantages Sandvik battery electric vehicles (BEVs) bring in terms of safety, efficiency and sustainability, it’s no surprise they are rapidly gaining popularity among underground operators.
“By trialling the Sandvik LH518B, Agnico Eagle is putting itself at the forefront of this emerging technology and showing its environmental credentials,” he says. “Not only does the loader produce no underground emissions and significantly reduced heat, but it also delivers new levels of productivity. It all makes for a safer, more comfortable, more controlled underground environment.