Clean Technology Canada

Glencore cutting carbs at Onaping Depth mine project with EVs and federal funding

June 2, 2024
By Anthony Capkun

Presented by:
Energy manager

June 2, 2024 – Glencore Canada Corp. is receiving up to $11 million in funding from industrial pollution pricing proceeds to substitute diesel-powered machinery with battery electric-powered equipment at the Craig Mine Onaping Depth Project in Ontario.

“We are grateful to be recognized for merits and awarded Decarbonization Incentive Program funding from the federal government [which] will help accelerate the adoption of green battery electric vehicle technology […]” said Peter Xavier, vice-president, Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (INO).

The Sudbury INO aims to be one of the world’s first mines wholly operated by battery electric vehicles (EVs). Just a few years ago, however, Sudbury INO was at a point where, without further investment, the site’s mines would reach their end of life as early as 2023.

Onaping Depth offers the potential to extend Sudbury INO’s mine life, explains Glencore. However, “the project demanded a commitment to innovation given the depth of the deposits”.

At 2600 metres deep, a major portion of the expected operating costs for the mine infrastructure is for the energy used to power the ventilation required to eliminate exhaust contaminants, as well as the heat and refrigeration needed to maintain reasonable temperatures.

Meantime, Caterpillar has been testing their proof-of-concept electric R1300 at Sudbury INO, with the machine running in trials alongside its diesel equivalent. Caterpillar used the insight gained from this testing to develop the R1700 XE: its first commercial battery electric load-haul-dump (LHD).

When coupled with the portable MEC500 mobile equipment charger, the R1700 XE achieves full charge in under 30 minutes (less than 20 minutes when two MEC500s are used in parallel).

When coupled with the portable MEC500 mobile equipment charger, the R1700 XE achieves full charge in under 30 minutes.

Through the use of EVs, Onaping Depth is expected to reduce its energy usage by 44% for ventilation systems and by 30% for cooling equipment (compared to an equivalent diesel-fuelled operation).

EVs themselves produce no direct emissions, resulting in fewer pollutants and improved occupational health. They are quieter to operate, experience less wear and tear, and have lower maintenance needs due to simpler machinery.

“Transitioning to electric mining vehicles reduces greenhouse gas emissions from mining machinery and mine ventilation, and supports not only Glencore’s climate change goals and targets, but also municipal, provincial, and federal climate change plans,” Xavier added.

The Decarbonization Incentive Program, explains Environment and Climate Change Canada, consists of proceeds collected from all industrial sectors (other than the electricity sector) that are covered by the federal Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS).

Through funding agreements with industrial facilities that are (or were) subject to the OBPS, the proceeds are used to support clean technology or energy efficiency projects.

“The Decarbonization Incentive Program enables industries, like mining, to foster a cleaner, more sustainable approach to resource extraction, while also paving the way for a greener future,” said Viviane Lapointe, MP for Sudbury. “I applaud Glencore Canada for being a leader in our transition to a low carbon future and creating a more sustainable future for Sudbury.”

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