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Hindustan Zinc investing $ 1bn for battery EVs in underground mines

Source: Hindustan Zinc

Hindustan Zinc, together with the Finnish technology company Normet Group Oy, has inducted battery-powered service equipment and utility vehicles into underground mining to help decarbonize and improve environmental sustainability in the mining industry. 

The battery-operated Normet Agitator SmartDrive EV has been inducted in its underground mining operations, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Indian mining industry, according to the company. Hindustan Zinc will soon expand its BEV fleet with Normet's Explosive Charger (CHARMEC MC 605 V SD) and Concrete Sprayer (SPRAYMEC MF 050 VC SD).

Each of the Normet SmartDrive EVs are based on a modular Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) architecture that is designed to optimize energy consumption and performance in underground mining, including tunnelling applications. 

They are powered by 90 kWh lithium-ion batteries, and come equipped with myriad advanced technologies such as energy recuperation technology, hydraulic dual-circuit oil-immersed brakes to provide additional braking power, and so on. The vehicles also have the advantage of zero-emission in the operating environments, considerable noise and vibration reduction associated with equipment, along with high-efficiency driveline that consumes less kWh/ km compared to diesel ones.

The 'SmartDrive' EVs enable higher productivity, lower operating costs, and, most importantly, zero emissions, claims the mining firm. The BEVs have been inducted at the company's Sindesar Khurd (SK) mine which is a world class silver-rich mine with state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities and best-in-class mechanisation.

Commenting on the development, Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, said, "Our aim at Hindustan Zinc is to revolutionize underground mining, boost productivity, raise underground safety standards, and provide sustainable operations solutions. Thanks to our unwavering commitment to environmentally sustainable business and net zero emissions, we've always focused on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions. I believe the introduction of battery-electric vehicles in Hindustan Zinc's underground mining operations will revolutionize the sector and mark a great step forward for India in terms of responsible mining."

Speaking on the occasion, Subhasis Mohanty, Managing Director, Normet India, said, "We are pleased to partner with Hindustan Zinc to solidify our ESG commitment, by bringing into reality the first of our fleet of Normet SmartDrive ® BEVs in HZL underground mines. Our association has been valuable to drive common goals on sustainability and decarbonization in the Indian mining sector, driving transformation in the underground space and building long-term value for all our stakeholders."

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In its press statement, Hindustan Zinc said that it is the first company among its peers to join the EV revolution in the country, steadily switching to electric vehicles for its underground operations. The company has set a target of converting all diesel-run 900-odd mining vehicles into battery operated ones over the next five years and has earmarked an investment of over US $ 1 billion.

Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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