Rio Tinto, BHP and other mining firms have partnered with manufacturing company Komatsu to develop zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure.

The collaboration will form part of the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas (GHG) alliance, which also includes Codelco and Boliden as founding members.

Members of the alliance will collaborate with Komatsu on the planning, development, testing and commissioning of the next generation of zero-emission mining.

This alliance’s initial work will aim to advance Komatsu’s power agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle.

The vehicle will be designed to run on different power sources, including diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power, and hydrogen fuel cells.

Rio Tinto plans to undertake a pre-production trial of Komatsu’s new equipment at its site and will be offered an option to purchase some of the first trucks once commercially viable.

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BHP will also have an option to operate the initial batches of zero-emission trucks.

Rio Tinto chief commercial officer Alf Barrios said: “Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world’s largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008.

“Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonise our business.”

BHP will provide engineering and technical resources required to support the development stage of the zero-emission trucks.

It will also partner with Komatsu through the BHP FutureFit Academy to develop the future-facing skills to operate and maintain the equipment.

Komatsu mining business division president Masayuki Moriyama said: “We look forward to a close collaboration with these industry leaders to accelerate development and deployment of the next level of equipment designed to reduce greenhouse gases from mining operations, and ultimately achieve the goal of zero-emission mining.”