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BHP and Toyota have joined forces to trial light electric vehicles (LEV) at the Nickel West operations in Western Australia.

Under the partnership, a LandCruiser 70 has been converted from running on diesel to fully electric via onboard battery power.

The vehicle is expected to be operational in both above ground and underground settings.

BHP president, Minerals Australia, Edgar Basto said BHP was working to reduce the emissions intensity of its light vehicle fleet.

“It builds on other LEV trials under way in South Australia and Queensland. Reducing our reliance on diesel at our operations will help achieve our medium-term target of reducing operational emissions by 30 per cent by 2030,” he said.

BHP asset president, Nickel West, Eddy Haegel also expects the company to reduce its fuel and maintenance costs, as well as noise, heat and diesel particulate matter through the use of LEV.

“The battery in the Toyota EV LandCruiser also contains a high proportion of nickel,” Haegel said.

“With Nickel West being both a battery raw material producer and consumer in the electric vehicle market, it is a terrific opportunity to support Toyota with their understanding and development of electric vehicles for the mining industry, whilst also reducing the carbon footprint from our own nickel operations.”

Toyota Australia president and chief executive Matthew Callachor said the company had maintained a strong relationship with BHP for the last 20 years.

BHP is undergoing other underground electrification trials at its Olympic Dam poly-metallic mine in South Australia and the Broadmeadow coal mine in Queensland.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) superintendent mods and small projects, Dan Hookham, said in 2018 that the company was looking to replace its diesel-powered personnel transporters with battery operated vehicles at Broadmeadow.