Newmont, Caterpillar in zero-emissions mining deal

By Mike Brezonick10 November 2021

Autonomous Haulage System Control Room The Autonomous Haulage System Control Room for Newmont’s Boddington mine in Western Australia. (Business Wire photo)

Mining giant Newmont Corp. has announced a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc. to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system. Together, the companies said they will collaborate to create a safer, more productive mine, and substantially support Newmont in reaching their 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets of more than 30%, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050.

“A year ago, Newmont announced industry-leading emission reduction targets because we understand the human contribution to climate change,” said Tom Palmer, president and CEO of Newmont Corp. “We followed with a commitment to invest $500 million over five years to identify pathways forward as we firmly believe that we must make bold, lasting commitments to achieve the necessary change for a bright, healthy future.

“Today, we furthered that commitment by announcing a new strategic alliance with Caterpillar to address climate change by fundamentally changing the mining industry through the rapid development and implementation of a comprehensive all-electric autonomous mining system to achieve zero emissions mining.”

Newmont-Caterpillar alliance From left, Rob Atkinson, executive vice president and chief operating officer Newmont, Tom Palmer, president and CEO Newmont, Jim Umpleby, chairman and CEO Caterpillar Inc., and Denise Johnson, group president, Caterpillar Inc., announced the zero emissions collaboration between the two companies. (Photo: Business Wire)

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) mine in Colorado, U.S.A. and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

- Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment.

- Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Together, Newmont and Caterpillar plan to validate equipment, infrastructure, technologies and processes to transform both surface and underground mining, focusing on safety, automation, decarbonization, optimization, data and asset management across Newmont’s global operations.

Newmont said its surface and underground mining fleets are responsible for approximately 40% of the company’s carbon emissions. Building a new model for surface and underground mining is critical to delivering on Newmont’s emissions reduction targets.

Newmont will also be supporting Caterpillar’s validation of evolving features and functionality within the MineStar suite to be deployed across Newmont’s surface and underground assets globally. This deployment facilitates centralized production and asset management.

“Caterpillar is committed to providing transformational advancements in safety, sustainability and technology,” said Jim Umpleby, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. “We share Newmont’s dedication to a reduced-carbon future, and we’re honored to work together on this industry leading effort.”

This is the second major collaboration between Newmont and Cat related to automated vehicles. In 2018, the two companies, with the support of Nevada Cat dealer Cashman Equipment Co., reached an agreement to validate and improve underground hard rock mining vehicle automation technology.

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