BHP has unveiled a fully electric Jumbo at Olympic Dam to support the company’s target to reduce operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including by minimising reliance on diesel.

The 28.7-tonne, 14.5-metre long battery-electric Epiroc Boomer M2 “Jumbo” will be powered by a 150kW traction motor and 150kW battery system, eliminating GHG emissions from diesel. It will be tested for efficiency, productivity and comfort over the 12-month trial period.

Jumbos are used in underground mining development to drill holes, which are then loaded with explosives and open up new areas. Post-blasting Jumbos install large bolts to stabilise mine walls. BHP currently operates 16 Epiroc Jumbos at Olympic Dam.

The fully-electric Jumbo will also break new ground in its user experience by reducing noise and vibration, and eliminating heat and the emissions of diesel particulate matter.

Andrew Harris, General Manager Olympic Dam Mine, said: “The world is going to need a lot more of South Australia’s high quality copper, and the team at Olympic Dam is behind our push to produce that copper more sustainably.”

“Collaboration with supply partners like Epiroc will be critical to developing the technology required to reduce emissions, while ensuring we continue to improve the safety and productivity of our operations. I can’t wait to see what this new fully-electric Jumbo can do.”

BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, James Agar, said: “The fully electric Jumbo is yet another innovation that will support our progress towards achieving our medium-term target of reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by FY2030.”

Alisa Bennett, Underground Business Manager for Epiroc Australia and Mongolia said: “Epiroc are excited to partner with BHP in a new era of electrification in Australia. Epiroc’s ambitious sustainability targets like halved carbon emissions by 2030 matches BHP’s sustainability agenda well. The Boomer M2 Battery rig will facilitate a healthier and safer underground working environment for our customers without compromising on productivity.”

BHP has a medium-term target to reduce operational GHG gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by FY2030, from an FY2020 baseline. Approximately 40 per cent of BHP’s operational emissions in our FY2020 baseline year came from diesel-powered vehicles.

The trial of the Jumbo also supports BHP’s efforts to minimise the operational impact of diesel particulate matter in underground mining operations by 2025, as part of BHP’s participation in the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative.

The fully electric Jumbo trial builds on electric vehicle initiatives at Nickel West in Western Australia, Olympic Dam in South Australia and BMA’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland. BHP is also collaborating with Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu to develop zero-emissions electrified haul trucks, and battery-electric locomotives with Wabtec Corporation and Progress Rail.

BHP has also signed Power Purchase Agreements to source renewable power for a number of its operations in Chile, Queensland, South Australia (with Iberdrola and Neoen) and Western Australia. BHP also has customer decarbonisation partnerships with world-leading steelmakers in China, Japan, Korea, India and Europe, which collectively represent around 17 per cent of reported global steel production capacity.