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Epiroc: Leading the Charge in Mining Electrification

Epiroc's holistic electrification approach

Epiroc
Epiroc: Leading the Charge in Mining Electrification

Electrification in mining is a transformative step towards sustainability that is well recognised. Beyond adopting Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), it typically requires considering an entire ecosystem of infrastructure like power generation, reticulation, battery systems, operations and maintenance, and recycling. Epiroc refers to this as a ‘holistic electrification approach,' which they believe is critical for operational success.

A global productivity partner for mining and infrastructure customers, Epiroc is working to accelerate the transformation to a sustainable society. Their offering includes innovative equipment, service, after-market support and solutions for automation, digitalisation, and electrification.

Epiroc's recent strategic acquisitions of companies such as JTMEC, Meglab, and FVT have helped them provide a robust 360-degree electrification infrastructure ecosystem that can cater to the unique demands of the mining industry which is marketed as Epiroc Electrification Solutions or EES. 

Holistic electrification approach

The journey towards mining electrification involves several critical components. Generation has to work with power reticulation to distribute electricity throughout the minesite efficiently. Storage and management enable reliable and continuous operation of BEVs and other electric machinery. Regular maintenance and monitoring prevent downtime, enhance efficiency, and extend the lifespan of the equipment. Additionally, recycling is critical to minimising environmental impact and supporting a circular economy.

A complete electrification ecosystem has meant expanding expertise in various aspects of electrification. For example, JTMEC's insights into renewable projects, such as data centres, solar installations, and battery storage, provide valuable knowledge that can be applied to mining, helping customers reduce risks and enhance sustainability.

"Understanding energy needs and conducting careful audits of electrical infrastructure is critically important to understanding how much energy is required in each environment," JTMEC general manager and managing director Scott  Bell said. "This is particularly true in terms of determining current capacity and focusing on the ability to implement large battery storage systems to manage peak loads and ensure equipment can be efficiently charged and ready to use at the start of each shift."

Each part of Epiroc's holistic electrification approach ensures that the power systems in place can support the transition to electrification without compromising operational efficiency.

Infrastructure Agnostic solutions for accelerated electrification

Some of the challenges to accelerating the transition include varying government mandates and targets from one country to the next, resulting in inconsistent adoption rates. "Larger, globally represented mining companies can implement changes more quickly across multiple locations," Bell  said. "It's understandable that they have a greater appetite for risk. Smaller, more isolated companies often wait for proven results before committing, which slows down the transition overall."

One of Epiroc's signature strengths is its commitment to agnostic solutions; providing flexible and adaptable infrastructure and technology that can work with a variety of equipment and power sources, regardless of the specific brand or type. This approach allows mining companies to integrate new electrification solutions into their existing systems more smoothly and efficiently, without being tied to a single vendor or technology.

Surface vs. underground electrification

The electrification journey differs markedly between surface and underground mining operations. These differences include environmental considerations, power sources, equipment, and infrastructure.

Environmentally, electrification in underground and surface mines differs in their considerations, including the potential for groundwater contamination, hazardous gas emissions and subsidence in underground operations, and the land degradation, deforestation and dust and noise pollution in surface mining. Additionally, both types of mining need to manage energy consumption, waste disposal, and adherence to environmental regulations to minimise overall environmental impact.

The sources of power and how they connect to the grid differ between surface and underground mining, influencing the overall environment and electrification approaches. Equipment in surface mining tends to be larger, requiring different structural solutions and support systems, whereas underground mining faces greater design constraints, limiting flexibility and necessitating specific infrastructure solutions.

"A lack of flexibility in an underground environment versus surface [mine] plays a role in the types of solutions you need to cater for in developing a strategy for electrification," Epiroc integration manager APAC George Aslanis said. "This impacts elements like chargers, charging bays and substations etc." Surface mining allows for more flexibility in designing and implementing solutions due to fewer space constraints, while underground mining requires tailored infrastructure solutions due to its confined environment.

This is why Epiroc offers a mix of services and equipment solutions from different vendors that work well together in catering to these different environments. Epiroc understands that a successful electrification strategy must address more than BEV equipment to succeed. By providing flexible solutions and leveraging the expertise of acquired companies like JTMEC and Meglab underpin its EES offering,  Epiroc is well-positioned to advise companies on the electrification journey.

Epiroc's holistic solution approach considers the entire electrical ecosystem which is critical for a successful electrification journey undertaken by mining companies as they transition towards achieving their sustainability goals.   Epiroc's leadership and comprehensive solutions, supported by strategic acquisitions like JTMEC and Meglab, ensure it can help support and accelerate the mining industry towards a sustainable future with confidence.

ABOUT THIS COMPANY
Epiroc

Epiroc is a vital part of a sustainable society and a global productivity partner for mining and infrastructure customers.  

HEAD OFFICE:

  • Address: Epiroc AB, Sickla Industriväg 19, SE - 131 54 Nacka, Sweden
  • Tel: +46 10 755 00 00
  • Email: ir@epiroc.com
  • Web: www.epiroc.com

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