Hitachi Construction Machinery



HCM and FQM announce zero-emission partnership

April 11, 2023

As part of the drive towards the development of sustainable mining solutions at First Quantum Minerals Ltd’s (FQM) flagship mining operations in Zambia, the company has announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (HCM). This contains a proof of concept for HCM to supply the first of its full battery, rigid frame dump trucks by the end of FY2023.

The trucks will be fitted with an ABB battery, on-board charger, and associated infrastructure for technological feasibility trials at FQM’s Kansanshi copper-gold mine operations near Solwezi, in the North-western Province of Zambia. This includes the S3 expansion that will increase copper production to approximately 200,000-250,000 tonnes per annum when production starts in 2025.

Continued collaboration

The partnership represents a significant milestone for both companies: HCM is accelerating the validation of its zero-emission mining products as part of its technology roadmap; and FQM is progressing towards reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions and achieving its long-term sustainability goals.

HCM and FQM have a longstanding relationship that will be further strengthened through these initiatives. The Kansanshi mine is ideally suited to these trials due to its existing trolley assist systems, which align with the development of battery dump trucks. FQM currently operates 41 HCM (diesel) trolley trucks at Kansanshi, meaning much of the required infrastructure for the battery dump truck is already in place.

Developed in collaboration with ABB, HCM’s battery dump truck utilises on-board energy storage and trolley systems to generate power. Via a pantograph, the battery dump truck connects to overhead power lines, drawing power to allow the truck to run. At the same time, the generated energy is used to charge the battery system. This is separate to the regenerated power from the retarder braking system, which will generate a high level of charge during haul road descent.

Expanding mining fleet

Applying proven technology from its current trolley truck system to the battery dump truck has allowed HCM to expedite the development of its product to market. The retrofittable system design is also an added advantage, allowing current diesel truck fleets to be converted to utilise the battery system. This in turn offers scalable fleet capability, minimal operational impact, and greater value for mining operations.

FQM’s fleet of HCM equipment includes 39 EH3500ACII and two EH3500AC-3 rigid dump trucks in Zambia, as well as other construction-sized machinery across global operations. A further 40 EH4000AC-3 dump trucks (equipped with the latest HCM/Bradken robust tray designs) are on order for delivery to Kansanshi in 2023. Six new EX5600-7E (electric) excavators (equipped with Bradken Eclipse buckets and incorporating loss tooth detection technology) are also to be supplied.

Additionally, the partnership is expected to facilitate significant investment in Zambia to deliver social and economic benefits. Supported by both companies, an in-country engine repair facility is planned, which will provide an increase in employment and skills development opportunities within the local community.

Zero-emission solutions

Sonosuke Ishii, Senior Vice President and Executive Officer, President of Mining Business Unit for HCM, says: “We have had a close and respectful working relationship with FQM since its first equipment purchase in 2004. We are honoured to cement this further through ongoing collaboration and support. The battery dump truck represents the future, not only for the HCM Group, but for the mining industry as a whole. We are pleased to establish this proving ground on an active mine site and work with FQM on advancing this zero-emission solution.”

His views are echoed by John Gregory, Director of Mining for First Quantum Minerals: “Innovation in mining is integral to FQM’s philosophy and we’re excited about this technology partnership with HCM. Pit electrification is an area of focus for FQM as we seek productive, safe and profitable decarbonisation of our mining activities to deliver lower carbon intensity copper. In collaborating with HCM, we look forward to the next phase of pit electrification as we seek to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with our target of a 50% reduction by 2030.”

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