At the Fording River mine site, Teck uses a variety of vehicles and mobile equipment for mining and to move rock, coal, and other materials around the site. This includes diesel-powered haul trucks, electric shovels, earth-moving equipment (such as bulldozers, excavators, and graders), drilling equipment, and pick-up trucks.
As many of these vehicles and equipment are powered by fossil fuels, these activities generate a large portion of mine emissions. Diesel-powered haul trucks are the conventional trucks used to move coal and waste rock around the site. In order to reduce emissions, Teck is evaluating a number of options for the Fording River Extension.
Autonomous Haul Trucks
Teck is currently advancing a pilot of autonomous (self-driving) haul trucks at its Elkview operation. These vehicles have been shown to improve safety, efficiency and have reduced emissions compared to conventional haul trucks in the mining industry. Planning is needed to incorporate the supporting infrastructure into the mine plan, and to train workers.
Trolley Assist would connect diesel-powered haul trucks to an electrical cable system for some segments of the journey. When connected to the cable, the truck would be powered by electricity, reducing the use of diesel fuel and related emissions. This option requires wider haul roads (therefore a larger footprint) to make room for the electrical cables and poles.
Electrically Powered Conveyors
Electrically powered conveyors can move coal and/or waste rock safely and efficiently, although materials need to be crushed to a smaller size before transport. They require additional stockpiles, and are often used in conjunction with haul trucks. Conveyor systems generally have lower emissions than haul trucks alone. Teck is also studying how the smaller size of crushed rocks might affect how the materials interact with the environment, including potential leaching of constituents of concern and/or changes in water flow through stored waste rock.