Our nickel mines in the Sudbury basin, Canada, are getting deeper, which is creating new challenges. These include increased costs for the ventilation and air cooling required to maintain a healthy work environment.
Ventilation is generally required to dilute and clear away contaminants that arise from the mining process. We are currently researching battery technology as a possible solution to reduce mobile equipment emissions and thus ventilation requirements in our deeper mining assets. We hope to prove that the technology is feasible for new expansions.
We purchased a personnel carrier that uses 100% recyclable lithium iron phosphate batteries.
This was commissioned and started use onsite at Fraser Mine in May 2015.
Our workers reported that they were satisfied with the new vehicle, as it produces very little noise and no heat or emissions, while still driving as its diesel equivalent. A downside is that shifts must be planned to ensure there are opportunities to charge the battery. However, there are a wide range of health benefits for our people that include the elimination of diesel particulate matter, no off-gases from diesel engines, less heat generated and less humidity, as well as reduced noise levels.