Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. and First Quantum Minerals partnered to develop battery-powered trolley trucks, similar to the above, at Kanashi copper-gold mine in Zambia. (Photo: Hitachi)

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. and First Quantum Minerals (FQM) partnered to develop battery-powered haul trucks at FQM’s Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia. Hitachi will supply the first of its rigid trucks, fitted with an ABB battery, onboard charger and associated infrastructure, by the end of 2023 for feasibility trials.

Developed in collaboration with ABB, Hitachi’s battery-powered truck uses on-board energy storage and a trolley to provide power. Via a pantograph, the truck connects to, and draws power from, overhead power lines. The energy is used to charge the battery system.

The battery also draws regenerated power from the retarder braking system.

The retrofit-able system design allows current diesel truck fleets to be converted, offering scalable fleet capability, minimal operational impact, and greater value, the partnership said.

Kansanshi currently has trolley assist systems and 41 Hitachi trolley trucks, meaning much of the required infrastructure is already in place.

FQM’s fleet of Hitachi equipment includes 39 EH3500ACII and two EH3500AC-3 haul trucks across its mining operations in Zambia. A further 40 EH4000AC-3 trucks equipped with the latest HCM/Bradken robust tray designs are ordered for Kansanshi to support its S3 expansion project. Six new EX5600-7E (electric) excavators equipped with Bradken Eclipse buckets and incorporating tramp tooth detection technology will also be supplied.

Hitachi said the battery-electric truck, in general, represents the future for both Hitachi and the mining industry.

FQM said pit electrification is an area of focus for the miner. “First Quantum has spent more than 10 years implementing trolley assist technology with Hitachi Construction Machinery at Kansanshi, an area in which we are now industry-leading,” said John Gregory, director, mining for FQM. “We see this as a technological evolution towards future commercialization of a practical equipment battery solution through the use of our advanced trolley infrastructure.”

Kansanshi is located near Solwezi in Northwestern Province.