Fortescue’s electric excavator reaches 1mt milestone

(Image source: Fortescue) Fortescue’s electric excavator.
(Image source: Fortescue) Fortescue’s electric excavator.

Fortescue’s (ASX: FMG) recently deployed electric excavator has moved 1mt of material since it became operational three months ago.

In December 2023, the excavator was deployed at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine in WA and since then, it has been running at partial capacity while the site team familiarised themselves with the new machine.

Now operating at full speed, its performance continues to steadily improve with the excavator performing better than its diesel equivalent, at times. The site team will now focus on ensuring a consistent performance.

Fortescue chief executive Dino Otranto says this is an exciting milestone for the company.

“This is such an exciting milestone for Fortescue and our decarbonisation journey. Importantly, we’ve been able to achieve this while maintaining our high safety standard,” he said.

“We will have two additional electric excavators commissioned by the end of April.

“Once we decarbonise our entire fleet, around 95ml of diesel will be removed from our operations every year, or more than a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.”

The electric excavator currently operates partially off solar energy and is powered by a 6.6kV substation and more than 2km of high voltage trailing cable.

In line with Fortescue’s commitment to eliminate emissions across its mining operations, the intention is that all electrified mining equipment will eventually be 100% powered by renewable energy.

Furthermore, this milestone comes days after Fortescue’s 240t battery electric haul truck prototype, Roadrunner, reached its own milestone during onsite testing.

“Roadrunner recently completed its first phase of testing which exceeded the performance expectations of the battery power system,” Mr Otranto said.

“This included laps around our testing track and ramp hill tests with hill starts, while carrying 231t of iron ore.

“It’s milestones such as these that are bridging the gap between zero emissions power systems and diesel fleets, and proving to the world that decarbonisation is possible.”