Mining major BHP and Toyota have collaborated to trial light electric vehicles (LEV) at the Nickel West operations in Western Australia (WA).

Nickel West is BHP’s fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business.

All nickel operations at BHP’s Nickel West asset, including open-cut and underground mines, concentrators, as well as a smelter and refinery are in WA.

The collaboration has already seen the conversion of a LandCruiser 70, which runs on diesel, to fully electric through onboard battery power.

BHP Minerals Australia president Edgar Basto said: “This partnership is another step in our ongoing studies into how we can reduce the emissions intensity of our light vehicle fleet.

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“It builds on other LEV trials underway in South Australia and Queensland. Reducing our reliance on diesel at our operations will help achieve our medium-term target of reducing operational emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.”

Toyota Australia president and CEO Matthew Callachor noted that the trial comes as another step the company is taking as part of achieving net-zero emissions in the future.

Callachor added: “BHP and Toyota have demonstrated a strong relationship throughout the last 20 years, and this project is a great testament to how we can both work together as leading companies in our respective industries to change the future.”

BHP is also going through other underground electrification trials at its Olympic Dam poly-metallic mine and the Broadmeadow coal mine in Australia.

BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel said: “The battery in the Toyota EV Landcruiser also contains a high proportion of nickel.

“With Nickel West being both a battery raw material producer and consumer in the electric vehicle market, it is a terrific opportunity to support Toyota with their understanding and development of electric vehicles for the mining industry, whilst also reducing the carbon footprint from our own nickel operations.”

In October last year, BHP executed a contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy company Southern Cross Energy for the electricity supply to its Nickel West operations.