In northern Finland, close to the Arctic Circle, Agnico Eagle Finland is operating the Kittilä mine, the largest gold mine in Europe. In the harsh winter of Lapland, Epiroc’s battery-powered machines, the Boomer E2 Battery, Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery have been put through the toughest of conditions. A successful field test that has now come to an end.
Agnico Eagle Finland and Epiroc were part of the Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems project, SIMS. As the project’s coordinator, Epiroc continues to spearhead the mining industry’s drive towards a fossil-free future. The SIMS project was part of Horizon 2020, which is the European Union’s most extensive research and innovation program ever.
“Our advances in zero-emission, battery-electric equipment, as well as automation and information management, have established us as a key driver behind the technology that is shaping the future of sustainable mining,” says Sami Niiranen, President at Epiroc’s Underground division. “This project is aligned with our ambition to deliver the world’s greenest machines and establishing ourselves as a leading provider of zero-emission battery-electric vehicles.”
Epiroc’s Electrification Transformation Lead, Franck Boudreault, explains that the field tests at the Kittilä mine have been successful since the beginning. “Our machines have been performing very well, delivering high reliability, increased performance and a battery autonomy that has been according to expectations,” Boudreault says.
Andre Van Wageningen, Manager of Technology and Development at the Kittilä mine agrees. “The collaboration with Epiroc has been great and Epiroc has taken away all the concerns we had regarding battery electric equipment. I believe that we also have supplied a very good test site.”
Tommi Kankkunen, General Manager of the Kittilä mine, strongly believes that the mining industry as a whole must strive towards zero emission. “We are doing a lot here at Kittilä. The benefits with battery-electric equipment are obviously the reduction of fossil fuels and the reduction of our carbon footprint, but also the major advancements that we have made on health and safety for our employees.”
Agnico Eagle Finland placed an order for two Boltec E Battery rigs from Epiroc earlier this year. Epiroc aims to offer its complete range of underground mining equipment as battery electric versions by 2025.