Underground Mining With Electrified Equipment Reaches Tipping Point

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There is a large movement of mining projects making the change from diesel as the backbone of their projects to the safer, cheaper, and healthier option of electrical power.

There have been numerous industry surveys done about the feelings around mining projects making the change from diesel-powered engines and equipment to electric equipment and they have mainly found that the benefits towards the worker’s health have been cited as the main drive towards positive views of electrifying the underground mining marketplace.

It is known that the fumes that are produced by diesel exhaust equipment can be dangerous to the workers and setting up the right ventilation equipment in order to properly remove these fumes and keep the working environment safe for everyone can be costly. This means that the switch from diesel-fuelled machinery to electric ones can be viewed as not simply a matter of health and safety, but as an economic decision, as well.

In recent years, the idea of electricity as the main power source on an underground mining job site has become more viable thanks to the lessening cost of renewable energy. Clean energy used to not be such a great cost-efficient option, however with the price of renewables nearing a pace that outdoes any other energy source, many in the industry expect electric energy to account for nearly 60% of energy sources in underground mining by 2040.

With the special training required with the move towards more electrified job sites comes a slightly increased cost of making sure your workers are prepared, but the return on investment still makes the change from diesel to electric a worthwhile decision, pushing the conversation of diesel vs electrified equipment towards an industry tipping point. It will not be too long before diesel-fuelled mining sites are a rarity. 

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker/SMC! For nearly a half a century, Becker Mining has been at the forefront of industry safety. Becker/SMC is the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems. Most of the major innovations, design features and specialized electrical components have been developed by Becker/SMC.

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