Sandvik, Barrick to test underground battery electric vehicles

The Artisan Z50 at Sandvik's Brisbane workshop.

Sandvik and Barrick have signed a partnership agreement for trialling battery electric vehicles for underground hard rock mining.

During the three-year production trial, Sandvik will deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at Turquoise Ridge gold mine in Nevada, part of Barrick’s Nevada Gold Mines joint venture with Newmont.

Turquoise Ridge is the largest gold-producing complex globally and is expected to produce  3.4 t o 3.65 million ounces of gold in 2020.

The Artisan Z50 BEV truck features a 40-tonne payload capacity and includes Sandvik’s patented AutoSwap system to easily remove and replace its battery pack.

Phase one of the trials has seen the Z50 achieve over 1400 hours of production while operating up to 18 hours per day.

Barrick president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow said the partnership with Sandvik will help the company advance its BEV strategy.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our performance, both in terms of sustainability and operational efficiency,” he said.

“This partnership with Sandvik is exciting and will give us first-hand experience in BEV technology in our own production environment. It is a significant step to furthering our BEV strategy across the group.”

Sandvik will allocate a site project team to work with Barrick’s operations team during the trial to ensure all data is captured while maintaining productivity.

“I am very pleased that Barrick and Sandvik have teamed up to perform these extensive trials in a daily production environment,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology president Henrik Ageer said.

“The purely battery-powered truck helps to reduce heat and emissions underground, helping mines reach their sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs.

“This raises the bar for what is possible and enables an all-new level of production and cost reduction for underground hard rock mines.”

Sandvik’s Z50 was on show across Australia in early 2020 and is slated to hit local dealers next year.

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