Sudbury

Goldcorp to open first electric mine near Chapleau next year

The first fully electric mine is set to open late next year near Chapleau, Ontario. Goldcorp is building the Borden Mine to run on electrically charged batteries. Most scoops, trucks and drills used underground in mines currently operate with diesel fuel.
Goldcorp is developing the first ever electric mine in northeastern Ontario. By the second half of 2017 Borden mine near Chapleau will have all electric underground equipment, instead of diesel. (Goldcorp)

The first fully electrical mine is set to open late next year, 20 kilometres east of Chapleau, Ontario.

Goldcorp is building the Borden Mine to run on electrically charged batteries. They hope to have the mine fully operational by the second half of 2017, says Marc Lauzier, general manager of operations in Chapleau and Timmins.

Most scoops, trucks and drills used underground in mines are powered with diesel fuel.

Goldcorp is partnering with Sandvik Mining and Maclean Engineering to roll out a fleet of battery powered vehicles to be used underground at the mine in northeastern Ontario.

Lauzier says most in the mining industry are supportive of their efforts to attempt this.
    
"[Other mining companies] are watching us because they're looking at implementing similar technologies in their own operations. And someone just has to prove that it can be done. We think it's the right time to do it."

Lauzier says the new electric mine will reduce Goldcorp's greenhouse gas emissions. It is also expected to save three million litres of diesel fuel and one million litres of propane yearly.

"It's easy to go to diesel [fuel powered equipment] because we know diesel. We trust diesel and we know how it works. But it's not as progressive as some of this technology and so we just got to try it," says Lauzier.

He says the change will also eliminate the impact diesel exhaust fumes will have on employees operating the equipment underground. There aren't any ventilation concerns with electrical gear.

Lauzier says this is the first mine he knows of that will be 100 percent electric powered.

"Trying this means taking on a little bit of risk, but also there is some good reward for that risk."

With files from Marina von Stackelberg.

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