Austmine has entered a new partnership with BluVeinXL, a technology company that believes in the shift to electrifying mine sites has never been more urgent. BluVein, with the support of Austmine and leading mining companies, is supporting industry efforts with the development of a safe, standardised and intelligent charging solution for battery-powered vehicles.
The benefits of mine site electrification are many. The most significant may be the removal of diesel (and subsequently diesel exhaust emissions), eliminating the harmful particles and chemicals associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease in workers.
The move away from big diesel-powered machines toward fleets of electric- powered vehicles on mine sites means a technological solution for the rapid charging of batteries is critical. According to a recent survey undertaken by the research platform State of Play, 89 per cent of global mining executives believe existing mines will become fully electric within 20 years.
Dynamic charging technology may represent the missing piece of the jigsaw towards fully electric mines.
BluVein is the result of 12 years of research and development in electrified highways by Swedish technology company EVIAS, combined with 25 years of developing mining machinery, robotics and power systems by Brisbane-based Olitek.
BluVein’s guiding design principles include comprehensive safety systems, standardisation with flexible adaptation to all mine applications and battery fleets, and easy-to-install-and-operate technology.
BluVein’s advanced charging technology eliminates the typical two- to three-hour downtime associated with existing vehicle charging and charge bay infrastructure.
The company’s BlueVein technology is designed to electrify underground mining via a trolley charging architecture that encompasses no exposed high-voltage conductors. It can also be integrated with all heavy-duty battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and is designed for ease of operation.
Electrical contacts are safely enclosed in the ingress-protection (IP)-rated slot of the BlueVein1 rail system, while the hammer mechanism is original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-agnostic to support mines with diverse heavy-haulage vehicle fleets.
BluVeinXL leverages a considerable amount of the technology embedded in BluVein1, offering a dynamic charging solution for heavy-duty mining fleets in open-pit mining.
Capable of dynamically feeding power to mixed-OEM fleets, BluVeinXL enables the onboarding of smaller battery packs, leading to the ramping-up of faster vehicle haulage speeds, grid-load balancing and maximum fleet availability.
There is a significant ease of ownership with the BluVeinXL technology, as it remains completely machine-agnostic and capable of being deployed on any vehicle, at any mine.
The technology is safe, modular and near-to-ground, which offers easy installation and means it can be being deployed or relocated quickly.
In addition, the fact the BluVeinXL is side-mounted with no overhead vehicle integration eliminates the requirement for any overhead wires or infrastructure.
The BluVeinXL technology helps to ensure increased production, with vehicle fleets not required to frequently charge or swap batteries, along with significant reductions in total cost of ownership as a result of reduced onboard energy, lighter trucks, greater payloads, and faster and steeper haulage.
BluVein has an array of project partners including Agnico Eagle, Anglo Gold Ashanti, BHP, Epiroc, Glencore, Newcrest, Northern Star, South 32, Vale and ReThink Mining (Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), all of whom provide support and feedback to develop and deliver BluVein’s advanced electric solutions.
BluVein’s vision to support as fully electric mining industry is emblematic of the METS sector and its role as one of the most technologically advanced, innovative and internationalised sectors in Australia.
Austmine, Australian mining’s leading industry association, continues to support companies with an unrelenting drive towards the sustainable transformation of mining.
BluVein is electrifying mining with safe, flexible, and trouble-free technologies, enabling the industry to achieve its mission of decarbonisation by accelerating the shift to battery-electric fleets and a net-zero future.
“We define mineral security to exist when all people have sufficient and affordable access to the minerals necessary for human development.
“Our hope is that these new concepts will help foster new understandings about development and new pathways for sustainability transitions and ultimately result in minerals being a more central feature of any revised formulation of the SDGs,” he said.