Teck Resources is piloting the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel source in six haul trucks at its Fording River coking coal operation in southeast British Columbia — marking the first use of LNG as a haul truck fuel at a Canadian mine site.

The use of blended LNG/diesel fueled haul trucks has the potential for significant environmental benefits and cost savings. LNG produces virtually no particulate or sulphur dioxide emissions and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 20% in comparison to diesel alone. There is the potential to eliminate approximately 35,000 metric tons (mt) of CO2 emissions annually at Teck’s coking coal operations and potentially reduce fuel costs by more than $20 million annually by adopting LNG and diesel hybrid fuel across the operations. FortisBC is transporting and supplying LNG to the mine site and is making a financial contribution toward the pilot.

The pilot is one of the steps Teck is taking to achieve its long-term target to reduce annual GHG emissions by 450,000 mt at its operations by 2030. To date, Teck has reduced annual emissions by 170,000 mt as the result of initiatives implemented since 2011.

“LNG is a fuel source that has the potential to lower costs, significantly reduce emissions and improve environmental performance at our operations,” said Don Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck. “We are committed to minimizing our own carbon footprint while at the same time continuing to provide the mining products that are essential to building a modern, low-carbon society.”

Teck, with support from FortisBC, has upgraded the Fording River Operations truck maintenance shop, provided engine conversion kits, installed fueling facilities and implemented a comprehensive safety program in advance of the pilot.

The pilot is expected to run until mid-year 2016 and it will provide more information about the potential for using LNG more broadly across Teck’s haul truck fleet, creating the opportunity for further fleet conversions to LNG in the future.