Australia’s first newly built electric excavator is now operational at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine site, marking a significant milestone in their decarbonisation journey.

Powered by a 6.6kV substation and more than two kilometres of high voltage trailing cable, this is the first of an initial three R 9400 E electric excavators being delivered by Liebherr that will be commissioned over the next year.

The delivery of electric excavators demonstrates Fortescue’s and Liebherr’s strong commitment to decarbonising heavy industry.

In line with Fortescue’s aim to eliminate emissions across its mining operations, the intention is that all electrified mining equipment will eventually be powered by renewable energy.

“The commissioning of this fully electric excavator is a massive achievement by the team,” said Fortescue Metals Chief Executive Officer, Dino Otranto, “and is the first of its kind in Australia for the mining industry. “It’s a true demonstration of industry collaboration where we’ve been fortunate enough to work with industry experts who have been using trailing cable for decades, and then repurpose this in our operations as part of our decarbonisation journey.

“Already, our Chichester operations which include Cloudbreak run partially off solar enabling this first excavator to be powered using renewable electricity. Once we decarbonise our electricity grid, all these excavators will be operating on renewable electricity in the future.”

“This R9400E excavator marks a significant milestone, with our decarbonisation partnership with Fortescue now extending to electric excavators,” added Liebherr-Australia’s Managing Director, Mining, Trent Wehr.

“The debut of Australia’s first operational electric excavator is a big achievement for our local team who will provide ongoing service and support for these machines. Our local teams are actively enhancing their skills to keep pace with the changes that accompany our expanding lineup of zero-emission mining equipment, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”