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Anglo launches giant hydrogen-powered mine haul truck

ANGLO American on Friday launched a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck. Picture: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS.

ANGLO American on Friday launched a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck. Picture: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS.

Published May 9, 2022


SOUTH Africa’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions footprint took a step forward last week with the mining industry unveiling a new piece of equipment set to move the sector towards a carbon-neutral future.

Anglo American on Friday launched a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck – designed to operate in everyday mining conditions – at its platinum group metals (PGMs) mine in Mogalakwena, Limpopo.

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The 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, generating more power than its diesel predecessor and capable of carrying a 290-ton payload, is part of Anglo American’s nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS).

Anglo American said nuGen provides a fully-integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of production, fuelling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site.

Chief executive Duncan Wanblad said nuGen was part of the company’s FutureSmart Mining programme, which brings together technology and digitalisation to promote more sustainable outcomes, including Anglo American’s commitment to carbon-neutrality across its operations by 2040.

With diesel emissions from Anglo American’s haul truck fleet accounting for about 10 to 15 percent of its total Scope 1 emissions, Wanbald said this was an important step towards the company achieving carbon neutral operations by that time.

“The mining industry is playing a considerable role in helping the world decarbonise, both through our own emissions footprint and the metals and minerals that we produce that are critical to low carbon energy and transport systems,” he said.

“Over the next several years, we envisage converting or replacing our current fleet of diesel-powered trucks with this zero-emission haulage system, fuelled with green hydrogen.

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“If this pilot is successful, we could remove up to 80 percent of diesel emissions at our open pit mines by rolling this technology across our global fleet.”

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, South Africa is committed to take the necessary actions to move the economy along a low-carbon, climate resilient path.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered a keynote address at the launch, said the nuGen truck was a remarkable milestone in the journey towards an industry and an economy that was more sustainable, more innovative and more resourceful.

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“We have an obligation both as government and as companies to reduce emissions and work towards achieving carbon neutrality. Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining programme is about meeting that obligation,” he said.

“Developing the hydrogen economy is a strategic priority for our country. Not only will it be a valuable driver of economic growth and employment, it will also contribute to our decarbonisation efforts.”

Ramaphosa said the proposed hydrogen valley, stretching from Limpopo to Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal will position South Africa as a global centre for green hydrogen production, creating new industries, aiding the decarbonisation of sectors, and creating new jobs.

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Anglo American Platinum chief executive Natascha Viljoen said PGMs played an essential catalytic role in many clean-air technologies, including those related to hydrogen production and hydrogen-fuelled transportation.

“Hydrogen has a significant and wide-ranging role to play in achieving a low carbon future – particularly as an energy carrier enabling the development of a renewables-based power generation system,” she said.

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miningAnglo American