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Our Olympic Dam asset in South Australia relies on diesel equipment for development, production, ore handling and mine services. A trial is underway to deploy light electric vehicles (LEVs) powered by lithium ion batteries in Olympic Dam’s underground fleet.

Data will be collected on the performance, power supply, maintenance support requirements, vehicle utilisation (charging time) and corrosion resistance of the vehicles during the 12-month trial period.

As well as reducing GHG emissions, LEVs can also lower operating costs and reduce worker exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM). The trial is part of a broader initiative aimed at reducing DPM exposure to the lowest level technically feasible, in accordance with our occupational exposure limit.

In FY2019, a decision will be made on the full roll-out of LEVs to Olympic Dam’s underground fleet. Knowledge gathered during the trial will also be shared within BHP to identify opportunities to accelerate the deployment of LEVs to reduce GHG emissions, DPM exposure and costs across our business.

A community of practice has been established to facilitate effective knowledge sharing. Additional studies are underway to assess the feasibility of electrifying other types of vehicles and mobile equipment, including at the Broadmeadow underground coal mine in Queensland, the Jansen Potash Project in Canada and at Western Australia Iron Ore.

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