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A Cat 793F autonomous truck being loaded. Image: Caterpillar

The first Caterpillar (CAT) 793 battery-electric haul truck is officially set to touch down at BHP’s Jimblebar mine in Western Australia in October.

Members of BHP’s operational decarbonisation team were on-site at CAT’s Tuscon Proving Ground in the US to see the truck trials in action.

“Not only do these trials represent an important step on BHP’s operational decarbonisation journey, but the technical outcomes could help to inform how we approach these challenges moving forward,” BHP operational decarbonisation vice president Dan Heal said.

“As we progress towards potential deployments, we need to consider how we plan our mines, manage power demand, charge equipment, the skills we will need, and most importantly, safety.”

In preparation, BHP’s Jimblebar mine is completing upgrades to site electrical transmission and distribution to enable high power charging infrastructure.

It’s all part of BHP’s mission to take action to decarbonise its operations, which includes reducing its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in three keyways: diesel displacement, fugitive emissions elimination, and electrification.

“Taking action requires us to challenge the market to approach technology development differently,” BHP global mining and services vice president Sebastian Greco said.

“It requires the industry to innovate and adopt new collaborative methods, to identify solutions through studies and proof-of-concept trials, and it requires us to learn together as we go.

“Securing the first CAT Early Learner battery-electric haul truck is a reflection of the ongoing collaboration between BHP and CAT and we are thrilled to be working together on this trial.”

CAT completed development of its first battery electric 793 prototype in 2022 with support from key mining customers participating in its Early Learner program.

The program launched in 2021 and focuses on accelerating the development and validation of CAT’s battery electric trucks at participating customers’ sites.

A primary objective of the program is for CAT to collaborate more closely with its customers as the industry undergoes transformational change through the energy transition.