A fully loaded haul truck, operating on trolley assist, passes a fully-loaded, diesel-powered truck on grade.(Photo: Copper Mountain Mining)

Copper Mountain Mining Corp. has successfully commissioned its trolley assist project, which consists of an approximately 1-kilometer (km) trolley-assist haul ramp and seven pantograph-equipped electric haul trucks.  This project is in partnership with SMS Equipment, Komatsu, ABB, Clean BC, and B.C. Hydro, and is aimed at cutting carbon emissions at the Copper Mountain mine by at least 30%, paving a solid foundation to achieve the company’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.

“We are proud to be the first open-pit mine to commission electric-trolley assist haulage in North America,” Copper Mountain President and CEO Gil Clausen said. “We have been assessing numerous innovative technologies that will reduce our carbon load. Through electrification and capacity increases, we are targeting to reduce our carbon intensity by 50% to 70% in the next five to seven years. We are also actively testing and researching renewable diesel, hydrogen, battery and fuel-cell technology to power our haulage units to achieve our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.”

This project stemmed from the company’s goal to reduce carbon emissions, while improving costs and productivity, according to Don Strickland, executive vice president of sustainability.

“Diesel fuel for our 240-ton haul trucks is the largest source of GHG emissions at the mine and diesel cost is between our second and third largest cost item for the site,” Strickland said. “With clean hydroelectricity available in British Columbia, the best way to achieve both the GHG and cost reduction objectives was to consider trolley-assist technology when acquiring new trucks.”

Electric-powered haul trucks will now travel up haulage ramps at twice the speed, one-tenth of the energy cost, and near zero GHG emissions, he added.

The Copper Mountain mine is located in southern British Columbia near Princeton. It currently produces approximately 45,500 metric tons of copper equivalent per year.