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Minnesota Power to study benefits of electric mining trucks

Updated: August 18, 2020 06:32 PM

Those massive mining trucks use a massive amount of fuel. But they don't have to. Some companies around the world are using electric mining trucks.

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Minnesota Power is going to study the possible benefits of their customers, the mines, using them here in on the Iron Range.

Frank Frederickson, the vice president of customer experience, said, "We know they are already doing some of the most environmentally sound mining in the world. If this can help advance that and their competitiveness, that's what we're hoping to find. A true win-win."

It would not be easy or cheap to do the conversion. But many companies, including mining ones, are looking at ways to lower their carbon footprints and operate in a more environmentally friendly way.

"The best applications is when the truck already has an electro-mechanical drive that can be retrofitted," Frederickson said.

A company in Sweden, Boliden, is using the trucks at their Aitik Mine. "They found it reduced the costs, because they're using less diesel, and it reduced the emissions, since they are using power from mostly renewable energy. It also increased productivity, because the truck can drive out faster," Frederickson said.

In Aitik, they use a trolley system. "The trucks use diesel when they're moving around in the mine. When they come up out of the mine, that's when they are attached to the trolley system and go electric," Frederickson explained.

This wouldn't work at every mine, Frederickson said. But it's worth looking at it. They could submit a proposal for a pilot project as soon as 2021.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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