Glencore secures federal funding for electric fleet at Onaping Depth mine
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BEVs in Mining
May 15, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

$11 million from the Decarbonization Incentive Program will help Onaping Depth achieve a 100 per cent electric fleet, a key to its viability

There are currently nine battery-electric vehicles, including bolters and loaders, that are operational onsite at the Craig Mine Onaping Depth Project. In 2022, Glencore enlisted Sweden-based Epiroc as its primary electric fleet provider. Photo: Environment Canada

$11 million from the Decarbonization Incentive Program will help Onaping Depth achieve a 100 per cent electric fleet, a key to its viability

The federal government is giving Glencore $11 million to electrify its Craig Mine Onaping Depth Project in Sudbury, Ont.

The funding will help the Switzerland-based mining giant to purchase the battery-electric machinery essential for the mine’s operations.

“This significant funding will help accelerate the adoption of green battery electric vehicle technology at our Craig Mine Onaping Depth Project, which is currently under construction,” says Peter Xavier, vice president of Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, in a press note.

“Transitioning to electric mining vehicles reduces greenhouse gas emissions from mining machinery and mine ventilation and supports not only Glencore’s climate change goals and targets, but also municipal, provincial and federal climate change plans.”

Federal funding for decarbonizing

The $11 million in federal funding is coming from the government’s Decarbonization Incentive Program.

“The Decarbonization Incentive Program enables industries, like mining, to foster a cleaner, more sustainable approach to resource extraction, while also paving the way for a greener future, says Viviane Lapointe, member of parliament for Sudbury, as part of the announcement.

“This program encourages industry leaders to innovate and reduce their carbon footprint, demonstrating that responsible industry practices can lead to economic growth and prosperity.”

The incentive program is financed by proceeds collected from industrial sectors under the federal output-based pollution pricing system.

The government says its pollution pricing system provides an incentive for industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining international competitiveness.

The proceeds are resown into the industry to support clean technology projects.

“This federal investment will positively benefit the environment, protect workers from harmful pollution and help Canada reach its net-zero goals,” says Marc G. Serré, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Electrifying Onaping Depth

Using electric vehicles at the Craig Onaping Depth Mine may cut over 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This shift also eliminates diesel fumes underground. This lowers ventilation costs for the mine, which, at the depth of 1,430 metres with diesel equipment, would be prohibitive.

In short: an electric fleet is what makes the Onaping Depth project financially possible at all for Glencore.

There are currently nine battery-electric vehicles, including bolters and loaders, operational onsite. 

In 2022, Glencore enlisted Sweden-based Epiroc as its primary electric fleet provider. Canadian companies MacLean Engineering and Kovatera are also supplying battery-electric utility machines and personnel carriers for the project.

Glencore aims to assemble a fleet of approximately 100 electric vehicles at the mine.

The Onaping Depth project carries a total cost of $1.3 billion with a 2026 target completion date. Once the mine is operational, it will provide a new source of high-grade nickel ore that can be used to manufacture batteries.

The mine’s lifespan is until 2040, with the possibility for extensions depending on future underground discoveries.

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