Mining companies and suppliers constantly strive to develop responsible mining practices with safe and cost-effective production. One initiative in this quest is to reduce the use of diesel-powered equipment underground, which has a positive impact on the health of miners, reduces ventilation costs and improves the environment.

Goldcorp, a leading gold producer, is working with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology to make its Borden Lake project one of the world’s first all-electric mines. Located in the Ontario, Borden Lake is part of Goldcorp’s pipeline of organic growth projects with indicated resources of 1.6 million oz of gold.

Goldcorp has committed to making Borden Lake the first major all-electric metal mine of the 21st century. Development at Borden Lake is scheduled to begin in early 2017 and Goldcorp has selected Sandvik to provide a complete electric solution, including development equipment for the Borden Lake mine.

“We can provide a full solution for development equipment for the mine because of our breadth of offering,” said Dale Rakochy, business line manager, underground equipment, Sandvik. “It’s a fully integrated battery technology where you don’t have to remove, handle or swap batteries underground, providing improved safety for operators and maintenance crews.”

One of the equipment models already ordered for this project is Sandvik DD422iE, which will be on display at the Sandvik booth at MINExpo 2016 in Las Vegas. By using electric energy from an onboard battery during tramming, Sandvik DD422iE produces zero emissions while maneuvering between headings. This improves health and safety for miners working underground. Less diesel usage in a mine thanks to diesel-free drilling can ease ventilation requirements, while also reducing associated diesel logistics and maintenance expenses. Using the mine’s existing electric infrastructure, the Sandvik driveline technology enables the battery to recharge during the drilling cycle. The battery will even recharge while Sandvik DD422iE is tramming downhill, using energy generated by the braking system. The long-lasting pack will power the drill efficiently throughout its lifetime.

Goldcorp has a long-term vision to develop the Borden Lake mine to be one of the most environmentally friendly mines in the world.

“This is truly a mutually beneficial relationship between Sandvik and Goldcorp where both companies have put a plan together to advance the technology needed for the project over the next three years,” Rakochy said.