Elphinstone has begun developing battery electric vehicles (BEV) for underground hard rock mining using internal investment and a federal government grant to get started.
The Tasmanian manufacturer will build its own battery electric underground support vehicle at its Burnie facilities in the state’s north, in collaboration with customers and supply chain partners.
The government funding which facilitates the development comes from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative which allocated $5.1 million to Elphinstone for BEVs to eliminate diesel use in underground environments.
Former minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said local manufacturing must be prioritised across sectors, as the funding was announced in July last year.
“Australia’s resource sector is world-class. Through our $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are helping to unlock this enormous potential by providing targeted support for projects that will deliver big rewards for our local economy in terms of export earnings and new job opportunities,” Porter said.
“It is also critical that we build our sovereign capability in this sector, with China currently the world leader in critical minerals processing including battery production.”
Elphinstone detailed what the project would involve.
“The project scope will encompass an end-to-end research, design, development, testing, validation, manufacturing and market commercialisation of an industry leading battery electric powertrain integrated into two differing base platforms from the existing range of Elphinstone support vehicles,” the company stated.
The project should create 15 highly skilled jobs including a project manager, lead design engineer, software developer, mechatronics engineer and heavy machine fitters.
Investment and supply chain partners are still being engaged to ensure a reliable stream of investment for the project.
The company said no stone would go unturned in this important project for its future.
“The vision is to provide a battery electric vehicle solution at the forefront of technology whilst maintaining a reputation for high quality, premium and reliable products which are well-positioned and recognised globally in the underground hard rock mining industry,” Elphinstone concluded.