Electric vehicle retrofit clears the air in underground mining

Thursday, 25 March, 2021 | Supplied by: 3ME Technology

The TRITEV, an underground mine electric vehicle (EV), was showcased late last year in Newcastle in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley and was believed to be the first fully battery electric retrofit 20-tonne loader suitable for deployment into underground hard rock mines, developed in Australia for the mining industry. The fully operational TRITEV prototype was designed through a collaboration between 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment, as a successful shift away from diesel run-vehicles, for Aeris Resources. With the TRITEV now complete, 3ME Technology believes the platform will help the drive to decarbonise and eliminate the issue of diesel particulate matter underground, while saving on the high OPEX costs associated with mine shaft ventilation and the running of an ageing diesel fleet.

The electric vehicle has been developed under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which bring together Australian METS companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support and improve productivity and innovative capacity of Australia’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. 3ME Technology CEO Justin Bain said the TRITEV is a result of a heavily collaborative effort with Batt Mobile Equipment, adding that 3ME is now in a position to replicate these models at scale. “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Batt Mobile Equipment,” Bain said. “Their industry knowledge, vehicle design expertise and mechanical acumen is second to none.”

METS Ignited CEO Adrian Beer said the Newcastle showcase highlighted the capability of Australia’s METS sector to improve sustainable mining practices. “METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre is pleased to support the commercialisation of technologies enabling safety improvements for Australia’s mining industry and potential global partners,” Beer said. 3ME Technology COO Martin Kime said the TRITEV has received interest from the underground mining industry in the battery electric retrofit of existing platforms.

Kime believes the interest is driven by the recognition that there is a need to remove diesel particulate matter underground. “Given the demand, we look forward to bringing jobs to the Hunter, helping with the COVID recovery whilst creating next-generation, clean battery technology!” Kime said. With a range of additional mining vehicles ready to be electrified, it is anticipated that the 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment partnership will continue with its quest to electrify underground mining to increase the standards of work health and safety for miners and benefit the environment.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Mariana Ianovska

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