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Rob Atkinson, executive vice president and COO Newmont; Tom Palmer, president and CEO Newmont; Jim Umpleby, chairman and CEO Caterpillar Inc.; and Denise Johnson, group president Caterpillar Inc. (Photo: Business Wire).

Newmont has formed a strategic alliance with Caterpillar to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system.  

The companies will collaborate to create a safer, more productive mine, and substantially support Newmont in reaching its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of more than 30 per cent, with an ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 

Newmont president and chief executive officer Tom Palmer said this partnership formed a significant part of Newmont’s environmental goals.

“A year ago, Newmont announced industry-leading emission reduction targets because we understand the human contribution to climate change,” Palmer said.

“We followed with a commitment to invest $500 million over five years to identify pathways forward as we firmly believe that we must make bold, lasting commitments to achieve the necessary change for a bright, healthy future.

“Today, we furthered that commitment by announcing a new strategic alliance with Caterpillar to address climate change by fundamentally changing the mining industry through the rapid development and implementation of a comprehensive all-electric autonomous mining system to achieve zero emissions mining.”

The overall target is to deploy 26 first-of-a-kind battery electric autonomous vehicles in both an underground and open pit operation by 2027. 

Under the agreement, Newmont will invest $100 million to develop and implement the technology at Newmont’s Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia, and at the Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) mine in Colorado, U.S.A.

The first steps will involve an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V by 2023, with a transition to full electrification and associated infrastructure for a test fleet in 2026. 

At the same time, Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026.  

The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. 

The companies hope to validate the equipment, infrastructure, technologies and processes necessary for the wider mining industry to improve safety, automation, decarbonisation, optimisation, data and asset management.

Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer Jim Umpleby said these were all pillars of success which the company continued to target.

“Caterpillar is committed to providing transformational advancements in safety, sustainability and technology,” Umpleby said.

“We share Newmont’s dedication to a reduced-carbon future, and we’re honoured to work together on this industry leading effort.”

Earlier in 2021, Caterpillar formed a similar partnership with BHP to develop zero-emissions mining trucks, following months of collaboration on how to sustainably tackle the miner’s energy demands.