The Borden Gold mine, northwest of Sudbury, Ontario, will be the first mine in North America to switch its vehicles and equipment entirely from diesel to electric power. This milestone will be reached when the mine begins commercial production later in 2019.
Making the switch to electric not only eliminates the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the vehicles and equipment, but also slashes the amount of ventilation that the mine requires, which in itself accounts for half of its total energy demand. That means even fewer GHGs while lowering costs.
The owner of the mine, Newmont Goldcorp, is doing this with the help of partners Sandvik Mining and MacLean Engineering. These partners are providing everything from battery-operated drilling and blasting equipment to electric bolters, personnel carriers and eventually a 40-metric tonne battery-powered haul truck.
Strong government support has helped make the project a reality, including $5 million from the Government of Ontario and an additional $5 million fast-track stream from Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program.
At the end of the day, Newmont Goldcorp will see significant cost savings in addition to a 5,000-ton reduction in onsite GHGs. The company estimates savings of up to $9 million a year from reduced diesel, propane and electricity costs. The mine also promises to be a more hospitable environment for workers, with improved air quality and a reduction in noise leading to health and productivity gains.
The Borden mine project demonstrates that the global clean economy opportunity can be seized by all Canadian sectors. Many traditional firms are cutting costs and becoming more competitive, all while reducing environmental harm. This generates new products and expertise that can be marketed to help other countries meet their environmental goals too.
The future of mining just got a little brighter.