On Monday, Bloomberg Green ran a story on the process of developing Anglo American’s new hydrogen-fueled haul truck from scratch. The story includes an interview with Anglo American technical director Tony O’Neill, who spoke to Bloomberg’s Antony Sguazzin at Mogalakwena.

Article excerpt:

Four years ago, Anglo American Plc couldn’t find any industry partners to support its idea of replacing open-pit mining’s monster diesel trucks with climate-friendly, green hydrogen-fueled vehicles. 

After investing as much as $70 million on its own to back the concept, the global miner revealed last week a new 220-ton vehicle capable of carrying about 290 tons of ore without producing global warming emissions in the process. 

“It’s fair to say our desire to drive this was ahead of a lot of the industry’s ambitions,” Tony O’Neill, Anglo’s technical director said in an interview at Mogalakwena, the world’s biggest open-cast platinum mine, on Friday. “When it came down to timing we were pretty much alone.”

Anglo American, like rivals such as Glencore Plc and Rio Tinto Group, are feeling pressure from investors who are concerned about global warming to cut carbon pollution. Replacing the mine haul trucks with hydrogen fueled ones would slash emissions at Anglo’s open-pit mines by 80%, a key step in reaching the company’s target of carbon neutrality by 2040. 

Trucks make up “a big part” of the company’s greenhouse gas contributions, said Natascha Viljoen, chief executive officer of Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the Anglo American subsidiary that operates Mogalakwena, in an interview. 

Anglo’s prototype truck is part of the company’s NuGen program, which also includes a solar-powered system for producing green hydrogen on mining sites. An electrolyzer uses energy from the sun to split water and create hydrogen. Anglo enlisted the help of technology and hydrogen companies including Engie SA, First Mode Holdings Inc., Ballard Power Systems Inc. and NPROXX BV. …

The prototype — a converted Komatsu 930E — is a blue and yellow behemoth that on Friday trundled up a mound of dirt and retrieved a full load of ore under the watchful eyes of executives, employees and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. …

By 2030 the company plans to convert its global fleet of 400 mine haul trucks — which operate across platinum, copper and iron ore operations — to hydrogen. The impact of that would be equivalent to taking half a million diesel cars off the road in terms of emissions reductions, the company said. 

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