Graphite developer Nouveau Monde Graphite has been selected as the mining partner of a collaborative endeavour bringing together research and industry leaders to develop electric systems and rapid recharging infrastructure for heavy vehicles adapted to openpit mining.
The project brings together cofounding partners Propulsion Québec, the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), in collaboration with Adria Power Systems, Dana TM4, Fournier & Fils and Nouveau Monde Graphite.
The partners will make the first-ever electric heavy-duty vehicle for the mining sector.
They will design and develop an electric propulsion system for a 40 t mining truck, along with a battery solution technology and fast-charging infrastructure adapted to mining operations.
The solutions will be tested and validated in real-world conditions in a quarry in Val-d’Or, as well as in the facilities of the Nouveau Monde Graphite mine in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, which aspires to be Canada’s first all-electric openpit mine.
Nouveau Monde plans to use 12 electric trucks to save more than 80 000 𝓵/y of diesel, reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 220 t.
Fournier & Fils will provide the project with a Western Star 6900XD truck with a 40 t loading capacity, as well as its technical experts, who will assist the electrification experts in converting the truck to accommodate the new components.
Dana TM4, a leader in electric motors, will develop the motorisation aspects.
IVI will design the battery, based on the new recommendations of the Global Mining Guidelines, and the NRC will evaluate and test it to ensure it meets the specific criteria of being inexpensive and adapted to the harsh conditions of openpit mines.
The objective is to minimise operating costs, and the electric mining vehicle should be able to operate year round, even in winter.
To efficiently meet the truck’s power requirements and charging times, Adria Power Systems will develop high-power charging infrastructure and will also oversee battery assembly.
The prototype is expected to make its first real-world test runs as early as spring 2022 at a Fournier & Fils quarry and at the Nouveau Monde Graphite site.
“We’re helping mining companies lower their emissions by investing in on-site emissions-reduction technologies, and they’re helping us by powering the clean technologies we’ll need to reach net zero by 2050,” said Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan.
Parliamentary Secretary to O’Regan, Paul Lefebvre, added that government was positioning the Canadian mining industry as a progressive, sustainable global producer of critical minerals needed for the transition to a clean energy future.