Japan-based Komatsu unveils sustainable mining equipment

With a long history of mining equipment manufacturing, Komatsu has turned its attention to the development of sustainable electrified solutions

To meet sustainability goals, mining businesses must make some serious changes to the way they operate. Thanks to Komatsu, there is hope for many more developments in sustainable mining machinery for processes like haulage, loading, excavating and underground mining. MINExpo 2021 revealed some of the greatest mining machinery triumphs that are suitable for various applications within the industry. 

Electrifying mining haulage 

Komatsu is currently in the process of testing various power sources for emissions reduction across its range. Driven by targets—set by the GHG alliance—Komatsu is advancing its haulage solutions with a vehicle that is capable of utilising diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired electric), battery power and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Komatsu has envisioned a future product portfolio of agnostic haulage vehicles, which will act as a comprehensive solution for customers. 

Developing switched reluctance technology 

A pioneered technology by the company could cause significant changes in the industry. The switched reluctance (SR) technology captures energy through braking power and the slowing of the vehicle. This technology is also installed in the company’s WE1850 Gen 3 wheel loader—also displayed at MINExpo last month. 

This product and a few others in Komatsu’s product line leverage a Kinetic Energy Storage Systems (KESS), adding to the sustainability benefits of its machines. The combination of SR and KESS is expected to provide a 45% fuel reduction, reduce carbon emissions by 35% and the total operation costs by 10 - 15%. 

Underground mining applications 

The company is no stranger to underground mining machinery. With over 50 years of experience developing underground machines, it now holds a solution to make the process more responsible. The next generation of the machine is the BH-18A, a battery haulier that is powered by new lithium-ion battery technology. The machine is capable of reaching 136,000ft (41,453-metres) per full charge, compared to 115,000ft (35,052-metres) for lead-acid. 

There are currently further developments underway, at Komatsu, to build drilling and bolting machines, which leverage a combination of battery and electric power. These developments could potentially eliminate the need for diesel fuel in underground hard rock mining. 


For more mining insights, check out the latest issue of Mining Global Magazine.

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