Fortescue has announced that its electric excavator has moved one million tonnes of material since its recent deployment.

Since the beginning of 2024, the excavator had been running at partial capacity while the site team familiarised themselves with the new piece of equipment.

Now operating at full-speed, its performance continues to steadily improve with the excavator at times performing better than its diesel equivalent. The team’s focus is now on ensuring its consistent performance.

Fortescue Metals’ CEO, Dino Otranto, said, “This is such an exciting milestone for Fortescue and our decarbonisation journey. Importantly, we’ve been able to achieve this while maintaining our high safety standards.

“We will have two additional electric excavators commissioned by the end of April. Once we decarbonise our entire fleet, around 95 million litres of diesel will be removed from our operations every year, or more than a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.”

Located at Fortescue’s Chichester operations, the excavator currently operates partially off solar and is powered by a 6.6kV substation and more than two kilometres of high voltage trailing cable. 

Fortescue said that in line with the company’s commitment to eliminate emissions across its mining operations, the intention is that all electrified mining equipment will eventually be 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity.

Fortescue’s 240-tonne battery electric haul truck prototype, Roadrunner, also reached its own milestone during its onsite testing.

“Roadrunner recently completed its first phase of testing which exceeded the performance expectations of the battery power system. This included laps around our testing track and ramp tests with hill starts, all while carrying 231 tonnes of iron ore.

“It’s milestones such as these that are bridging the gap between zero emissions power systems and diesel fleets, and proving to the world that decarbonisation is possible.” 

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