BME lands $4.5m grant to produce electric mining vehicles

Batt Mobile Equipment secures a grant of AUS$4.5 million to ditch diesel and produce heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles for underground mines

Based in New South Wales, Australia, Batt Mobile Equipment Pty Ltd (BME) has been granted AUS$4.5 million to begin building modernised machinery suitable for underground-hard rock mines. The investment comes as part of the Australian government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which aims to provide funding for a number of large, transformational projects that will create or facilitate collaborative ecosystems.

One of eight companies within the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing sector to be provided with funds, BME is set to deliver Australia’s first operationally feasible alternative to a diesel fleet. 

BME has been awarded the grant in the first round of the AUS$1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative. 

Electric vehicles to make mining more eco-friendly

Already being trialled at Aeris’ Tritton copper mine in Hermidale, Australia, BME has produced the TRITEV 20t Integrated Tool-Carrier. The vehicle, developed in collaboration with 3ME Technology and Aeris Resources, is supported by the mining industry growth centre. The project’s focus surrounded the acceleration of the predominance of electric vehicles in underground mining in Australia. 

The grant comes as a rising number of mining companies across the globe increase their focus on minimising carbon emissions in their attempts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

In its press release, the Australian government said that BME’s heavy battery-electric vehicles would “catalyse the electrification of global hard-rock mines” and potentially succeed in delivering “emission reduction, safety, and production outcomes.”

“Australia’s resource sector is world-class,” says Christian Porter, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. “Through our AUS$1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are helping to unlock the enormous potential by providing targeted support for projects that will deliver big rewards for our local economy, generate more export earnings, and create new jobs.”

Australia focus on meeting the 2050 deadline 

This isn’t the only ‘ditch the diesel deal’ Australia is pursuing in regards to mining. BHP has recently installed a Tritium charger for its underground electric vehicles at one of its coal mines in Queensland in an attempt to reduce reliance on diesel transport. 

Other projects benefiting from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative include Brisbane METS Lab No.1 (AUS$1.2m) to assist in the development of its own vanadium processing plant, and Elphinstone Pty Ltd, based in Tasmania (AUS$5.1m) for its development of battery-powered underground mining support vehicles.

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