Fortescue breaks ground on EV milestone

20 December, 2023

The Fortescue Cloudbreak mine in Western Australia has introduced Australia’s inaugural newly constructed electric excavator. Signifying a substantial stride in the company’s journey towards decarbonisation. The excavator operates on a 6.6-kilovolt substation and utilizes over 2 kilometers of high-voltage trailing cable.

This groundbreaking excavator is the first of three R 9400 E electric excavators slated for commissioning by Liebherr in the coming year. Fortescue Metals’ CEO, Dino Otranto, hailed the commissioning of this fully electric excavator as a monumental accomplishment. He highlighted the collaborative effort with industry experts experienced in trailing cable usage. The repurposing of this technology within their operations aligns with Fortescue’s commitment to decarbonisation.

The Chichester operations, including Cloudbreak, already derive partial power from solar sources. This enables the initial electric excavator to run on renewable electricity. Otranto emphasised that as Fortescue continues to decarbonise its electricity grid, all electrified mining equipment, including these excavators, will eventually operate on renewable energy.

Fortescue’s vision extends to powering all electrified mining equipment with renewable energy in the future. Liebherr Australia’s Mining Managing Director, Trent Wehr, celebrated the milestone of deploying Australia’s first operational electric excavator. He noted the significant achievement for their local team. He highlighted ongoing service and support for these machines, and expressed enthusiasm about the evolving landscape of zero-emission mining equipment.

Fortescue recently achieved another milestone in the renewable space with its ammonia-powered ship. The Green Pioneer recently embarked on a journey from Singapore to Dubai. The voyage serves as a symbol to the global community, showcasing the technological solutions and regulatory changes essential for decarbonising shipping. Fortescue, heading to COP28 with a message for delegates, aims to underscore the critical steps needed to transition towards sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.