Crawling, running and flying towards electrification in Mining

I recently returned from a trip to Canada and the US, focusing on mining operators, where I met with large hard rock mining operators, regulators, industry associations and subject matter experts. 

The purpose of the journey was twofold: to gain a deeper understanding of the recent advancements in electrification in North American hard rock mining and to make a comparison with the latest developments in Australia.

What is similar? 

There are a lot of similarities. 

A lot of the same players, similar barriers including this practical around grid load, dealing with batteries and the overall change management. 

Examples include:

  • Lack of certified electricians
  • Lack of  EV certified and capable technicians, 
  • Changing infrastructure 

While EV is front of mind the infrastructure and supply chain is still very much tied to diesel vehicles, we are nowhere near equilibrium. 

What is different?

Incentives and approach. 

While Canada has seen a positive impact on EVs due to government incentives, Australia and the US have yet to follow suit. 

However, there are some differences in approach among the countries. In the US, the focus seems to be on meeting the minimum requirements, whereas in Canada and Australia, there is a more progressive approach aimed at getting more out of EVs than simply replacing diesel vehicles. This approach is forward-thinking and emphasises innovation beyond basic replacement.

What is surprising?

It is evident there is a missed opportunity to do things differently. 

We need to use more of the 'non mining world's' EV learnings and infrastructure to get more out of EV than just a cleaner fleet. Likely in part due to the general and real risk awareness and in part due to the regulatory requirements. 

We would love to see more practical hubs, more test sites and more drive towards using the best from EV to not only replace diesel (which it eventually undoubtedly will) but to inject more smarts, automation and more non-mining practices to drive a leaner, meaner and more efficient mine. 

At A.I. LAMB, our work is underpinned by research supported by the latest data and insights, where we can work towards a cutting-edge solution to help you stay ahead of the curve. 

We love SMEs and know what it takes to be a great supplier to the mining industry.