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Russian diamond miner Alrosa is considering converting its fleet of supersize mine trucks and road trains to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel, a move that could slash its fuel costs by more than 40%, says deputy COO for vehicle management Ruslan Sizonov.

The company will over a period of 16 months test several types of diesel and LNG-converted equipment in a pilot phase.

Alrosa says switching heavy equipment to using LNG and diesel at the same time will reduce yearly fuel costs by 400-million to 500-million roubles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 30%.

“Converting the vehicles would neither affect their technical performance nor require replacing their fuel systems. But, according to our calculations, it would reduce our consumption of diesel, which today costs approximately twice as much as natural gas, by more than 40%,” says Sizonov.

The project will see the transfer of more than 200 pieces of heavy machinery to LNG and diesel operation at the Aikhal and Udachny divisions. It envisages the construction of an LNG plant in Udachny and refuelling infrastructure that will include both fixed and mobile cryogenic filling stations.