bhp mining truck fleet in chile to be electric by 2023

Mining group BHP and construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar have signed an agreement to electrify BHP’s entire truck fleet at the Escondida copper mine in Chile. The first Caterpillar 798 AC electric dump trucks are to be delivered in the second half of 2023.

The agreement is part of the strategic equipment renewal process developed by Escondida. Said BHP fleet currently consists of more than 160 dump trucks, and over the next decade, Caterpillar says they will be replaced with electric vehicles.

The company says the new electric trucks will be equipped with technology that “significantly improves material handling capacity, efficiency, reliability and safety, and positively impacts key future initiatives such as decarbonization, diversity and inclusion, autonomous technologies and local capability development.”

Also involved in the venture is Finning International, which is based in Vancouver, Canada and sells and services Caterpillar products. The company’s integrated knowledge centre in the Chilean region of Antofagasta, for example, is to provide technical support for the fleet.

The president of Escondida | BHP, James Whittaker, speaks of great expectations in terms of the benefits that are expected to accrue in the short and long term for the company, but also for the Antofagasta region as a whole. “This agreement is an important step to continue projecting into the future Escondida | BHP´s leadership in the industry. It will allow us to generate significant efficiencies at the operational level, but it is also in line with some of the main challenges that drive us as a company: innovation for the future of mining, decarbonization, and development of capabilities in Antofagasta´s community.”

BHP recently ordered eleven electric vehicles from Sandvik for its Jansen potash mine in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. BHP is also reportedly a founding member of the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas Alliance to develop electric mining equipment.

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