BHP to introduce electric trains in Pilbara mines

BHP will test the performance and emission reduction capabilities of battery electric locomotives when delivering iron ore from its Pilbara mines to the Port Hedland export facility.

The deal will help the miner achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 for its customers, including the heavily polluting steel industry. The industry is responsible for no less than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and approximately three quarters of BHP’s Scope 3 emissions.

BHP said it will also test unique “energy harvesting” opportunities using the natural topography of the rail network to further reduce the overall energy demand of trains.

On the way to port, locomotives can capture energy that would otherwise be lost when braking on downhill grades. They can then use this energy to help propel empty trains to the Pilbara.

30% less emissions

A fully loaded BHP WA Iron Ore train typically comprises four diesel-electric locomotives pulling around 270 wagons carrying a total of 38,000 tonnes of iron ore, BHP noted.

“Replacing diesel-powered vehicles with electric technology is a key part of our operational emissions reduction plans, as is partnering with a wide range of global equipment manufacturers and technology providers,” said James Agar. , BHP Group Purchasing Manager, said in the statement

“Rail is the fundamental link in our value chain from pit to port, and the power required to deliver fully loaded iron ore wagons from Pilbara to Port Hedland is significant,” said Brandon Craig, President of BHP Assets. , Western Australia Iron Ore. added.

A full transition to battery electric locomotives would reduce the company’s iron ore carbon emissions in Western Australia by almost 30% annually, the company said.

Monday’s announcement follows BHP’s recent partnerships with Caterpillar and Komatsu to develop zero-emission haul trucks and separate agreements for renewable energy supply contracts at its Escondida, Queensland, Nickel West coal mines. and Olympic Dam, as well as a solar farm in Nickel West.

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