In July of 2020, New Gold’s New Afton copper and gold mine near Kamloops, BC introduced their first battery electric mining vehicle (BEV) to their mobile fleet. A MacLean BEV BT3 Boom Truck was delivered from MacLean headquarters in Ontario to take part in a trial that stretched throughout the summer and fall, directly comparing its performance to its diesel counterpart. The unit logged over 300 hours over the course of three months and was subsequently purchased by New Gold.
Key to the successful introduction of this new technology was both the length of the trial combined with the amount of commissioning and customization work done in close partnership between New Afton and MacLean. Ensuring the BEV unit was customized to meet its specific duty cycle for material haulage ramp runs at this block caving operation, as well as ensuring the New Afton operators and mechanics were properly trained to use and repair the mining vehicle, were critical to the successful adoption of this technology underground. While BEVs contribute to a working environment with reduced emissions, less noise, and lower vibration, their successful implementation at a mine can depend on a number of factors unique to the site.
The New Afton example of carefully and methodically approaching the introduction of their first BEV unit underground, in direct comparison to the performance and operator experience on an existing diesel version of the same model, is a good example for other mine sites looking to incrementally and successfully grow their zero emissions mining fleets to support cleaner, safer, more efficient, and lower cost operations.
“We’re excited to have taken this first step toward electrifying our entire C-Zone production fleet. In addition to the speed improvements tramming uphill, this BEV Boom Truck helps us reduce GHG emissions and health and safety hazards related to the exhaust produced by this unit’s diesel counterpart.” – Peter Prochotsky, Mine Manager, New Afton January 2021
EV Series Fast Facts – New Afton BT3 BEV trial (July – September 2020)
Productivity improvement: One (1) MacLean BT3 BEV Boom Truck material haulage trip was able to replace five (5) IT (Integrated Tool Carrier) trips
Total electrical energy used: 8.2 MWh
Electricity taken from grid: 6.1 MWh
Electricity regenerated: 2.1 MWh (25%)
Estimated saved diesel: 4,800 – 5,000L
Estimated carbon for electricity: 0.18 tCO2e
Estimated saved diesel carbon: 13 tCO2e
~98% Carbon savings, excluding possible ventilation savings