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Caterpillar showcases first electric mining truck in Tasmania

The prototype electric mining truck has been put to the test at Caterpillar’s testing ground in Tasmania

Constructing and mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has demonstrated its sustainable technology capabilities through a recent electric truck trial in Tasmania.

As part of its trial of sustainable truck technology, Caterpillar successfully put its first battery electric prototype underground mining truck to the test at its proving ground in Tasmania for industry leaders such as Newmont.

The aim is for Caterpillar to grow its portfolio of battery electric and semi-autonomous technology for underground mining applications, with gold company Newmont being one of many involved in this future direction.

The trial comes after Caterpillar unveiled the 793 battery electric prototype surface mining truck in November 2022.

Now, the company has developed the prototype for operating in Tasmania with input coming from Newmont.

The two brands are collaborating to achieve Newmont’s vision of a fully connected, automated, zero-carbon emitting and end-to-end mining system.

“This milestone is a reflection of the partnership between our teams at Newmont and Caterpillar, showcasing the impact of strong collaboration in the mining industry,” Newmont executive vice president Rob Atkinson says.

“Achieving this milestone together, combining capabilities and shared values, is a testament to the strength of our strategic alliance.”

This battery electric truck will complete Caterpillar’s first fully electric underground load and haul solution when paired with the commercially available R1700 XE battery electric loader.

“This is a milestone for the entire Caterpillar team as we work closer than ever with Newmont to provide more sustainable choices for the underground mining industry,” Caterpillar Resource Industries group president Denise Johnson says.

Caterpillar also completed a demonstration of its growing autonomy and automation capabilities. The brand says this technology addresses some of the key safety challenges faced daily by its underground customers such as the risk of collision when moving heavy machinery through dark and cramped spaces.

Caterpillar says autonomous trucks can help to enhance mine site safety by removing operators from potentially hazardous or remote sites. Additionally, these features can improve productivity by creating increased visibility for mine site coordinators, enabling more consistent operations for both staffed and autonomous machines.

“We are building on our foundation of industry-leading autonomous solutions for surface operations, along with our deep experience in underground technology, to provide significant improvement in both productivity and safety for underground mining customers,” Johnson says.

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