Epiroc and underground mining contractor Byrnecut have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop future electric drive underground loaders.

Under the MoU, the companies will jointly work to develop and test a proof of concept for the new large underground loader.

The companies aim to deploy a diesel-electric prototype at a Byrnecut site in Australia.

Epiroc underground division president Sami Niiranen said: “We are proud to deepen our partnership with Byrnecut with the development of a future-proof, low-emission automated loader in the large segment.

“This will support Byrnecut to accelerate the transformation towards reduced emissions, as well as overall TCO [total cost of ownership], without any compromise on safety and productivity.”

The project team from Byrnecut is currently working with Epiroc’s research and development team at the latter’s underground division based in Orebro, Sweden.

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The teams are focusing on reviewing the development of the machinery, as well as planning the trial phases.

Byrnecut executive chairman Steve Coughlan said the MoU forms part of the company’s efforts to cut carbon emissions and maximise future potential through innovative technical solutions.

Last month, Epiroc was selected by Byrnecut to deliver underground mining trucks for the Kathleen Valley lithium mine in Western Australia.

Under the contract, Epiroc will deliver a fleet of Minetruck MT65 S underground haulers featuring Epiroc’s telematics system, Certiq.

The Certiq system allows operators to have intelligent real-time monitoring of machine performance and productivity.