First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FQML) has ordered an additional 11 trolley-assisted T 284 trucks, Liebherr reported. Three of the trucks are destined for FQML’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and the rest are heading to the company’s Cobre Panama mine. The purchase grows the company’s fleet to 38 T 284s in Panama and will claim the title of the world’s largest ultra-class truck fleet on trolley.

The milestone marks the success of a partnership between FQML and Liebherr, along with the performance of the T 284 with trolley solution. The journey began in 2013 when Liebherr received an initial request from FQML to develop a 360-metric-ton (mt, 397 ton), trolley-capable haul truck for its mine sites in Panama and Zambia. The trucks were required to integrate with the trolley power line that FQML had designed and developed for the sites.

Liebherr engineers began developing, testing and verifying the trolley solution. Two T 284 trucks with trolley assist were commissioned at Sentinel copper mine in Zambia in 2016 and testing of the trolley solution began in February 2017, with 12 months allotted to evaluate the trucks, the trolley and the customer service. At the end of the trial, FQML was pleased with the results and ordered six more trolley-capable T 284 trucks for the Sentinel mine, along with 30 trolley-capable T 284 trucks for Cobre Panama copper mine in Central South America.

Over the last decade, First Quantum has emerged as one of the industry leaders in implementation of trolley assist systems across mine planning and design, installation, operations, and maintenance. The company said its purpose-designed trolley assist systems deliver a step change in measurable haulage performance through increased truck productivity, improved maintenance cost and reduced carbon emissions.