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Australia’s first newly built electric excavator has debuted at the Fortescue Cloudbreak mine in Western Australia.

Marking a significant milestone in the company’s decarbonisation journey, the excavator is powered by a 6.6 kilovolt substation and more than 2km of high-voltage trailing cable.

The excavator is the first of an initial three R 9400 E electric excavators set to be commissioned by Liebherr over the next 12 months.

“The commissioning of this fully electric excavator is a massive achievement by the team and is the first of its kind in Australia for the mining industry,” Fortescue Metals chief executive officer Dino Otranto said.

“It’s a true demonstration of industry collaboration where we’ve been fortunate enough to work with industry experts who have been using trailing cable for decades, and then repurpose this in our own operations as part of our decarbonisation journey.

“Already, our Chichester operations, which include Cloudbreak, run partially off solar enabling this first excavator to be powered using renewable electricity.

“Once we decarbonise our electricity grid, all these excavators will be operating on renewable electricity in the future.”

Fortescue said eventually all electrified mining equipment will eventually be powered by renewable energy.

“This R 9400 E excavator marks a significant milestone, with our decarbonisation partnership with Fortescue now extending to electric excavators,” Liebherr Australia mining managing director Trent Wehr said.

“The debut of Australia’s first operational electric excavator is a big achievement for our local team who will provide ongoing service and support for these machines.

“Our local teams are actively enhancing their skills to keep pace with the changes that accompany our expanding line-up of zero-emission mining equipment, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”

Fortescue recently executed another renewable landmark moment with its ammonia-powered ship the Green Pioneer setting sail for Dubai from its base in Singapore.