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Sandvik’s TH665B battery-electric underground mining truck. Image: Sandvik.

Sandvik has almost completed testing the largest battery-electric underground mining truck for use at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia.

The 65-tonne TH655B prototype will be trialled at Sunrise Dam under a trial agreement with Barminco and AngloGold Ashanti, before commercial production is expected in late 2023.

Sandvik mining and rock solutions president Henrik Ager said this was the natural progression for Sandvik equipment.

“With more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of underground mining equipment, we’re proud to continue to lead the way in helping customers embrace more sustainable solutions,” Ager said.

“Our 65-tonne battery-electric truck is our latest development in helping mass hard rock miners and contractors to make the shift towards more productive, emission-free mining.”

The TH655B is expected to be 30 per cent faster on a 1:7 ramp than a comparable diesel truck with an electric drivetrain output of 640kW.

The machine follows Sandvik’s introduction of the TH550B 50-tonne BEV which was unveiled at MINExpo in Las Vegas last September.

The new TH655B takes a similar cabin design as that from the Toro TH663i underground truck, equipped with joystick steering, large touchscreen and new control system for enhanced ergonomics.

This prototype won’t be the first time Sandvik and Barminco have been involved in a world-first either.

In September 2019, Barminco received the world’s first mobile raise boring machine with back reaming capability – a bespoke edition of Sandvik’s Rhino 100 mobile raise boring machine.

The machine was also deployed at Sunrise Dam and was able to be set up for operation within two hours, instead of the usual three to four days for a conventional machine.