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RDH sells three battery-powered loaders to Peru

May 18, 2017
by Norm Tollinsky
In: Technology

A first for South America

World’s first 8-yard battery-powered LHD was repowered by RDH Mining Equipment for U.S. customer.

World’s first 8-yard battery-powered LHD was repowered by RDH Mining Equipment for U.S. customer.

RDH Mining Equipment has announced the sale of three battery-powered loaders to Minera Corona in Peru, a subsidiary of TSX-listed Sierra Metals. A four-yard loader was scheduled for delivery by the end of May and two 2.5-yard machines will follow in September, said RDH president Kevin Fitzsimmons.

“As far as we know, they will be the first battery-powered machines in South America,” he said.

The Sudbury area-based mining equipment manufacturer prides itself as the first mining equipment manufacturer in the world to introduce battery-powered equipment to the underground hard rock mining industry.

The company delivered its first battery powered loaders to Kirkland Lake Gold in 2010 and now has 12 battery-powered loaders and three 20-tonne trucks in operation at the company’s Macassa Mine, 300 kilometres northeast of Sudbury. It has also sold three six-yard battery-powered loaders to a mine in Russia.

The four-yard machine headed for Peru holds a charge for four to six hours depending on how it’s used and takes two hours to recharge. The 2.5-yard machines will operate for three to three-and-a-half hours and will take 90 minutes to recharge. All of the battery-powered equipment manufactured by RDH uses tried and proven lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry.

RDH supplies the equipment, the battery packs and the battery management system. It also supplies the charging stations – one per unit.

“There’s no IP (intellectual property) on the chargers, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a four yard, a 2.5-yard or someone else’s machine,” said Fitzsimmons. “We can charge anyone’s equipment as long as it uses lithium-iron-phosphate battery chemistry.”

The three loaders will be going to Minera Corona’s Yauricocha Mine, an underground polymetallic operation 150 kilometers southeast of Lima in Peru’s Yauyos Province.

According to Fitzsimmons, the mine is expanding and would have had to go to the expense of constructing ventilation raises to meet air quality requirements if it were to continue using diesel-powered equipment. Using battery-powered machines eliminates the need for the ventilation raises.

In May, RDH also delivered the world’s first battery-powered eight-yard loader to a mine in the United States.

“We repowered an eight-yard Wagner ST8B loader to operate on battery-power,” said Fitzsimmons. “We had to break it down in pieces to get it slung underground. It took three transports to get it there.”

Fitzsimmons sees a definite improvement in the mining industry this year, but notes that companies are still slow to adopt battery power.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in orders and battery power is getting a lot of attention, but there are still a lot of tire kickers out there.”

In May of last year, RDH took exception to an Atlas Copco press release claiming to introduce the world’s first battery-powered loader. More recently, it also complained about a press release by Artisan Vehicle Systems in which it claimed to have underground equipment operating at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa Mine for five years.

“It’s not true. Everyone knows it’s not true. They supplied the power systems,” said Fitzsimmons. “We have no problem saying that, but it’s not their equipment. It’s ours. It would be like Dana saying they supplied the equipment because we use their transmissions and axles. Artisan released its first machine at MINExpo last September – not in 2010. We have 450 pieces of equipment throughout the world.”

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