Australia, Projects, Renewables

Fortescue achieves milestone with electric excavator

Fortescue Metals Group has announced that its recently deployed electric excavator has moved over one million tonnes of material since becoming operational just three months ago.

The 300-tonne excavator, one of the first of its kind in Australia, is operating at the Cloudbreak mine in the Chichester Hub, Pilbara region of Western Australia. After an initial familiarisation period, it is now running at full capacity and at times outperforming its diesel counterparts.

“This exciting milestone proves we can maintain our high productivity while dramatically reducing emissions,” Fortescue CEO Dino Otranto said.

“With two more electric excavators coming online next month, we’ll be removing the need for over 95 million litres of diesel annually, eliminating over 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.”

The excavator currently runs partially on solar power, supplied by a 6.6 kilovolt (KV) substation. However, the goal is to eventually power all electrified equipment using 100% renewable energy as Fortescue continues decarbonising its operations.

The milestone comes days after Fortescue’s 240-tonne battery electric haul truck prototype, Roadrunner, completed successful performance testing carrying over 230 tonnes of iron ore.

“Milestones like these are bridging the gap between fossil fuels and zero emissions mining equipment, proving to the world that decarbonisation is possible for heavy industry,” Otranto said.

The electric excavator was supplied by Liebherr, who collaborated with Fortescue on repurposing longstanding trailing cable technology to power the machines.

Two more Liebherr electric excavators will be operational at Fortescue sites within a year.

For more renewable and solar news, subscribe to ecogeneration

Send this to a friend