News | 09/15/2021 First Quantum to operate world’s largest ultra-class truck trolley fleet with Liebherr T 284

As mining customers around the world show greater urgency to reduce CO2 emissions, innovative solutions such as Trolley Assist Systems present a step towards mine site electrification, paving the road for zero emission mines of the future. Liebherr Mining offers a range of solutions to help customers lower their emissions, including the Trolley Assist System for its full mining haul truck range.

Mark of success of the Liebherr-FQM partnership: Liebherr truck including OHT Assistance Systems delivered to FQM’s Sentinel Mine in Zambia.

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The Trolley Assist System uses onboard pantographs to connect the truck’s drive system to overhead power lines on uphill haulage segments. When connected to the overhead power lines in trolley mode, the full power capacity of the electric wheel motors can be translated into speed on grade while the diesel engine idles, improving productivity while reducing emissions, fuel consumption, and operating costs.

In 2013, Liebherr received an initial request from First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) to develop a 360 t / 397 ton trolley-capable haul truck for mine sites in Panama and Zambia. The trucks were required to integrate with the trolley power line that FQML had designed and developed for the sites.

Agreeing to this partnership, Liebherr engineers began developing, testing, and verifying the trolley solution. Two Liebherr T 284 trucks with the Trolley Assist System were commissioned at Sentinel copper mine in Zambia in 2016 and testing of the trolley solution began in February of 2017, with twelve months allotted for the customer to evaluate the trucks, the trolley, and the customer service.

At the end of the trial period, FQML expressed they were pleased with the results of the Trolley Assist System and the performance of the T 284, leading to an order for six more trolley-capable T 284 trucks at Sentinel mine, along with thirty trolley-capable T 284 trucks for Cobre Panama copper mine in Central South America.

As a mark of success of the partnership between FQML and Liebherr, along with the performance of the T 284 with trolley solution, FQML recently confirmed an order for a further 11 T 284 trucks. These three trucks for Sentinel mine and eight trucks for Cobre Panama mine, will join the existing fleets operating with the Trolley Assist System. This soon-to-be fleet of 38 T 284s in Panama will claim the title of the world’s largest ultra-class truck fleet on trolley.

“Trolley Assist truck systems have become integral to the development of First Quantum’s large scale open pit truck haulage operations,” said an FQML representative. “Over the last decade, First Quantum has emerged as one of the industry leaders in implementation of Trolley Assist systems across mine planning and design, installation, operations, and maintenance. We consider our purpose designed Trolley Assist systems deliver a step change in measurable haulage performance through increased truck productivity, improved maintenance cost, and reduced carbon emissions.”

“During the past five years, Liebherr has proven itself as a pro-active partner in the development of Trolley Assist capable truck fleet systems,” they continued. “First Quantum has selected the Liebherr T 284 ultra-class truck for some of our Trolley Assist deployments at our large-scale mining operations in Zambia and more recently as the sole deployed truck at our Panama mining operations. With a high degree of co-operation between our organisations, we see this partnership continuing to grow in years to come.”

Oliver Hoelzer, Director of Mining Liebherr-Panamá confirmed, “Even before the arrival of the very first truck, Liebherr Panama’s relationship with FQML Panama has been more of a mutual partnership than a pure business relationship. Our highly committed team recognises that Liebherr’s own success is intrinsically linked to the success of FQML.”

Liebherr has also delivered six trolley-capable 100 t / 110 ton T 236 haul trucks in Austria, bringing the total number of Liebherr trucks with the Trolley Assist System to 56 once FQML’s newest fleets has been commissioned.

Liebherr continues to pursue low emission technology for its equipment, with a target to offer fossil fuel free solutions for its entire digging, dozing, and hauling product range by 2030.