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New technologies transforming mining, metals industry - ICMM - Mining Weekly

Friday, 14 May 2021

JOHANNESBURG ( –  New technologies are transforming the mining and metals industry, making it cleaner and safer, says the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which is progressing an 'innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles' initiative.

The initiative brings together 28 of the world's leading mining companies and the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate in a non-competitive space to accelerate the development of a new generation of mining vehicles and improve existing ones.

The initiative's three ambitions that respond to some of the mining industry's biggest safety, health and environmental performance challenges, centre on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, diesel exhaust and vehicle collision.

Regarding GHGs, mining vehicles account for between 30% and 50% – and up to 80% in some key mining jurisdictions – of the total direct GHG emissions at a mine site.

Globally, there are around 28 000 large mine hauling trucks in service – almost all diesel-powered – consuming roughly 900 000 l of diesel and emitting over 68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

ICMM members are collaborating with OEMs to promote operational and technological innovations that will enable mining operations to introduce emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040.

"Our innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles initiative is technology agnostic and considers all technologies that can help members meet the ambition to reduce emissions, including battery electric and hydrogen powered vehicles.

"Industry needs to have solution options that can fit different operational environments, so we do not work on specific technology solutions, as we recognise that there will be more than one solution, and ICMM's role is to encourage innovation," ICMM's Kristen Dodd said in a written response to Mining Weekly.

Almost all underground mining equipment in service is diesel-powered. While different technologies to control the impacts of diesel particulate matter emissions are available to mining and metals companies, the initiative is working to raise awareness, promote adoption and find ways of reducing diesel particulate matter at source. ICMM members are collaborating with OEMs to promote technical innovations that minimise the operational impacts of diesel exhaust by 2025.

Transport and mobile equipment accidents accounted for 30% of fatalities at member mines in 2018. ICMM members commit to continually improve health and safety and they are determined to eliminate collision-related fatalities in mining operations.

The collaborative innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles initiative is promoting the development and uptake of collision avoidance technology that is capable of eliminating fatalities.

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