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Epiroc has decarbonisation on the menu

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Epiroc’s production facility in Örebro, Sweden, where the fossil-free steel from SSAB initially will be used.

Epiroc has entered into partnerships with SSAB and BluVein to speed up the mining industry’s shift to decarbonisation.

SSAB has partnered with Epiroc to focus on fossil-free steel that Epiroc plans to use in its mining equipment production.

SSAB aims to deliver fossil-free steel to the market in commercial-scale during 2026 and delivered the first steel made of hydrogen-reduced iron in 2021.

SSAB works with iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall as part of the HYBRIT initiative to develop a value chain for fossil-free iron and steel production, replacing coking coal traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

This process virtually eliminates carbon dioxide emissions in steel production.

Epiroc will initially use fossil-free steel for material for a prototype underground machine produced at its facility in Örebro, Sweden, and the plan is to increase the usage of fossil-free steel over time.

“We are very happy to welcome Epiroc in our partner group and look forward to the fossil-free steel collaboration,” SSAB president and chief executive officer Martin Lindqvist said.

“It’s a natural next step in our joint efforts to mitigate climate change. Demand for fossil-free steel is increasing, which is one of the reasons for SSAB to bring forward its green transition with the ambition to largely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions around 2030.”

In the shift to a low-carbon economy, the development of new technologies like this is crucial for making the transition possible.

The partnership with SSAB fits well with Epiroc’s ambitious sustainability goals for 2030 including halving its CO2 emissions.

“Sustainability is integrated in everything we do, and we are committed to halving our CO2 emissions by 2030,” Epiroc president and chief executive officer Helena Hedblom said.

“This exciting partnership with SSAB will support us and our customers on the journey to reach our very ambitious climate goals. It is clear that our innovation agenda goes hand-in-hand with our customers’ sustainability agenda.”

Epiroc and BluVein have also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fast-track the development of the BluVein dynamic charging solution towards an industrialised and robust solution that is ready for deployment across the global mining industry.

“The collaboration with BluVein gives us the opportunity to extend the focus beyond our own fleet and produce a dynamic charging solution which suits the needs of mixed fleet customers,” Epiroc divisional president of the parts and services division Jess Kindler said.

“I also believe this has potential to be vital for the electrical infrastructure required to fully electrify mine operations.”

The MoU is focused on the BluVein underground solution (BluVein1) and will develop and test the viability of its patented slotted electric rail system.

This system uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail.

The system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries whilst the truck is hauling a load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

Epiroc will, as part of its contribution to the collaboration, provide the first-ever diesel-to-battery converted Minetruck MT42 underground truck for pilot testing on the slotted electric rail system from BluVein.

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