Mining Companies Team Up to Wean Themselves Off Diesel Trucks

hydrogen  mining truck
A decal reading "Zero Emissions, Platinum Powered Hydrogen" on the side of a hydrogen-powered truck at the Anglo American Platinum Ltd. Mogalakwena platinum mine in Mogalakwena, South Africa. (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

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Members of the International Council on Mining and Metals are planning a joint effort to test hydrogen and other zero-emission technologies in a bid to shift away from diesel-fueled vehicles.

Members, which include producers BHP Group and Glencore Plc, are pitching sites to pilot technologies including electrolysis plants, trolley-assist haulage and regenerative braking, according to Rohitesh Dhawan, ICMM’s CEO. The group expects to choose 50 sites within the next two months to form a development network, the results of which will be shared with the rest of the industry.

Although the mining industry now uses more renewable energy to power operations, it’s only started testing prototype vehicles that are key to meeting net-zero targets. Governments and investors have become more sensitive to environmental concerns.

The testing network follows a push to bring mining companies and manufacturers together to speed the development of zero-emission vehicles. While mass availability of hydrogen and electric trucks is expected in 2027 — compared with an earlier projection of 2040 — Dhawan hopes to shorten that cycle further.

“We’re focused on what can we do as an industry to make sure that we adopt these and accelerate the deployment of them as quickly as possible,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in Peru. “Inevitably, that will mean working with national governments to figure out what their plans are.”

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