Mining Major Ltd will invest approximately $ 1 billion (around Rs 7,440 billion) in its eight mines over the next five years to replace diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with battery-electric vehicles, the company's CEO Arun Misra said on Friday .
The company, which has signed an agreement with Finnish technology company Normet Group Oy to introduce battery-powered service equipment at the forefront of underground mining, will deploy three of Normet SmartDrive EVs – a ‘Spraymec', an ‘Agitator' and a ‘Charmec'. ‘- in their underground mines, in the first phase.
“We have a schedule for the next five years to replace all of our current equipment when due. Then they'll be replaced with battery-powered devices, so our mines will be free of diesel-powered devices in five to six years. “We have hundreds of them, not even ten or twenty,” Misra told PTI.
When asked how much investment the company will invest in the exercise, he said, “It can be as high as $ 200-250 million a year” and “close to about $ 1 billion (USD) over the five-year period.”
Earlier this year, HZL signed a letter of intent with Epiroc Rock Drills AB to introduce another fleet of battery electric vehicles (BEV) into their underground mines for production facilities.
“So the two of them together will complete a mining section of a mine. We have eight mines (in India). This is the beginning, ”he said, adding that it would help the company test and understand the pros and cons of infrastructure needed for maintenance and move the process forward.
HZL said the Normet SmartDrive EV will greatly help it save a large amount of high-speed diesel (HSD) and its maintenance. By replacing HSD vehicles with Normet SmartDrive battery vehicles, around 3 lakh liters of HSD can be saved per vehicle.
Overall, replacing 3 SmartDrive EVs for HSD vehicles could save nearly 10 lakh liters of fuel, she added.
Subhasis Mohanty, Vice President, India Sales Area and MD Normet India, commented: “Our partnership with Hindustan Zinc for the Normet SmartDrive vehicles is a step on our common path towards safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly mining.”
Normet SmartDrive is a modular BEV architecture designed to optimize energy consumption and performance in underground mining and tunneling.
The SmartDrive equipment enables higher productivity, lower operating costs and, above all, no local emissions, according to the company. With the integrated energy recovery technology, it maximizes the storage of regenerative braking energy when driving downhill and when decelerating.
Misra said HZL's move towards electric vehicles for underground mining was largely due to its commitment to sustainable business and the “Race to Net Zero”.
“Our partnership with Normet reaffirms our commitment to sustainable operations for a greener future by helping us meet our sustainability development goal of reducing CO2 emissions, India's great leap towards responsible mining,” he said in a statement.
Because diesel vehicles and equipment in the mines generate a lot of heat, smoke, and carbon dioxide that require a constant supply of oxygen, he said that by replacing these with battery-powered electric vehicles, HZL will be able to save on maintenance costs and total cost of ownership “much better than my environment what we have “.
“Since we don't use diesel, there will be a reduction in CO2. We already have solar power plants in many of our mines and will use the solar power to charge the vehicles, ”said Misra.