Mining Rivals Join Forces: Rio Tinto & BHP Partner On Electric Truck Trials

Zinger Key Points
  • BHP and Rio Tinto are testing battery-electric haul trucks from Caterpillar and Komatsu in Western Australia's Pilbara.
  • The trials aim to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2050, starting with CAT trucks in 2024 and Komatsu in 2026.

Yesterday, Rio Tinto Group RIO and BHP Group Limited BHP announced their plan to collaborate to test large battery-electric haul truck technology in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The partnership reflects the individual commitments made by BHP, Rio Tinto, Caterpillar, Inc.CAT, and Komatsu Ltd. KMTUY to support BHP’s and Rio Tinto’s shared target of net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

As per the deal, BP and Rio plan to work with manufacturers Caterpillar and Komatsu to conduct independent trials of their battery-electric haul trucks in the Pilbara environment. These trials are the first stage of battery-electric haul truck testing at BHP’s and Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations.

BHP President Australia Geraldine Slattery said, “Replacing diesel as a fuel source requires us to develop a whole new operational ecosystem to surround the fleet. We need to address the way we plan our mines, operate our haulage networks, and consider the additional safety and operational considerations that these changes will bring. This is why trials are so critical to our success as we test and learn how these new technologies could work and integrate into our mines.”

In particular, Caterpillar and Komatsu will each provide one truck to BHP and Rio Tinto for these trials. The deal includes trialing two CAT 793 haul trucks in the second half of 2024 and testing two Komatsu 930 haul trucks in 2026 at mine sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

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Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott said, “This collaboration brings together two leading global miners with two of the world’s biggest manufacturers of haul trucks to work on solving the critical challenge of zero-emissions haulage.”

“There is no clear path to net zero without zero-emissions haulage, so it’s important that we work together to get there as quickly and efficiently as we can. Testing two types of battery-electric haul trucks in Pilbara conditions will provide better data, and by combining our efforts with BHP we will accelerate learning.”

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Price Action: BHP shares are down 0.03% at $59.61 and RIO by 0.10% to $71.78 premarket at the last check Tuesday.

Photo via Shutterstock

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