Fortescue Partnering with Engineering Firm to Develop Battery-Electric Mine Trucks

Mining company Fortescue is collaborating with Williams Advanced Engineering on the development of a battery-electric powertrain and a fast charger for use in mining equipment.

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE)
The battery-electric mine truck will undergo testing at a Fortescue mine in Western Australia.
The battery-electric mine truck will undergo testing at a Fortescue mine in Western Australia.
Williams Advanced Engineering

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has announced it will partner with global mining company Fortescue Metals Group to design, build, test and integrate a battery system which will be used to power an electric mining truck. 

According to WAE, a bespoke battery-electric powertrain will be developed. The goal is to enable the use of regenerative braking when the mine truck travels downhill to help recharge the battery. 

WAE plans to build the battery at its facility in Grove, Oxfordshire, UK; it will then be shipped to Perth, Australia for integration into a 240-tonne prototype haul truck. The truck will then undergo performance testing at a Fortescue mine in Pilbara, Western Australia. 

WAE has developed battery technology for a variety of sectors to date, and intends to use that experience when developing the battery for the mine truck. In addition to the battery, the company will also design a fast charging unit. The charger will use renewable energy from Fortescue's Pilbara Energy Connect network. 

Craig Wilson, Managing Director, Williams Advanced Engineering, said in the press release announcing the project, “We are delighted to be working with Fortescue on this pioneering project that will help enable their future decarbonization strategy, contributing to a reduction of carbon emissions in the heavy-duty mining sector. High performance battery systems are at the core of WAE. Both companies have a shared culture for innovation and rapid response and are committed to creating a sustainable future.’’

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said, “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet and Fortescue is committed to tackling this challenge head on through our industry leading target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040.

“This includes a 26% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations from 2020 levels by 2030. With around a quarter of these emissions attributed to our mobile haul fleet, this represents a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to being diesel free. Fortescue’s history of developing and adopting innovation and technology has been key to the success of our business and in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, we look forward to applying this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway.”