Underground mining: Alternative to diesel-powered Load-Haul-Dump vehicles (LHD)
Ventilation will always be a challenge in underground mining. With ore bodies being present deeper under the ground, the costs of installing and operating fans, heating and cooling will grow significantly. In other areas, mines are being reopened but have to exploit the ore body using infrastructures already in place, making sometimes ventilation management impossible. The requirement for ventilation is mostly driven by regulation, and the industry expects the constraint will increase as the health hazards related to diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground space are brought to the knowledge of everyone. While Tier 4 diesel engines are starting to be available on LHDs, they are becoming increasingly complex and require much more maintenance than before. GE is bringing forward it’s knowhow in battery-powered vehicle in coal mining to the hard rock industry through a battery powered LHD. The advantages are multiples, sometimes quantitative (ventilation savings, maintenance savings) and sometimes priceless (health).