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Norilsk Nickel to use LNG in heavy mining equipment

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Global Mining Review,

The management of Norilsk Nickel has decided to build an enterprise for the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the territory of the former Nickel Plant. This initiative has become one of the points of a large-scale comprehensive environmental programme that the company is implementing. LNG production is planned to convert heavy mining equipment to dual-fuel consumption (diesel + LNG).

General technical solutions for the LNG plant are currently being developed. In parallel, a pilot project is being carried out to re-equip dump trucks for dual-fuel operation using LNG. The tests are scheduled for 2H21. Four BelAZ mining dump trucks have been selected for them, the engines of which will be upgraded to operate in two modes (diesel and LNG). The machines will be tested on the territory of the opencast of the Zapolyarny mine of the Medvezhy Ruchey enterprise (part of Norilsk Nickel).

The tests are aimed at confirming the possibility of 40% replacement of diesel fuel with LNG. In addition, according to experts, the use of the new technology will significantly reduce the emissions of carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxide and dioxide and carbon (soot). As a result, the level of gas contamination in the quarry will decrease.

As a result of replacing diesel fuel with LNG, the cost of fuel for mining equipment is reduced, respectively, the cost of transporting 1 t of overburden/ore is reduced.

Based on the test results, a decision will be considered to re-equip the entire fleet of dump trucks that will be used in the development of the quarry. The fleet of vehicles has an approximate number of 30 units. The decision to re-equip mining dump trucks involved in other large-scale projects, in particular, the limestone mining of the Verkhnyaya-Tomulakhskaya area for the implementation of the company's ‘sulfur programme’ (up to 60 units), will also be considered.

Due to the fact that the territory of the Norilsk division has impressive reserves of natural gas and a developed infrastructure for its production and transportation, in the future, the implementation of the project of transferring heavy equipment to a dual-fuel mode will significantly reduce the cost of importing, storing and distributing motor fuel. According to preliminary calculations, the cost of LNG produced in Norilsk will be 2.5 times less than imported diesel fuel. Among other things, environmental risks will be significantly reduced.

The cost of re-equipping one dump truck within the framework of the pilot project is about RUB 11 million. If the modernisation affects large fleets of quarry trucks, the costs of this work will be significantly reduced. Preliminary terms for the construction of the LNG plant are from January 2022 to March 2023.

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Russian mining news Nickel mining news Mining equipment news