A new guideline from the Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group (GMSG) outlines the “recommended practice” for using battery electric vehicles (BEV) in underground mines.

Published in late April in partnership with the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), the document provides guidance on charging philosophy, mine design, BEV design, energy storage systems, charging systems and performance standards.

There has been a notable lack of standardization among original equipment manufacturers in the development of BEV technology, said GMSG managing director Heather Ednie. The goal of the guideline, she said, is to “streamline [development] so people can work toward the same general focus.”

The document is also meant to help mining companies design and plan their operations around BEV technology. “It’s through mine design that you can really get the benefit from battery electric vehicles,” said Ednie. For example, designing an operation with downhill haulage ramps would take advantage of the regenerative braking capabilities of BEVs, which can increase their range, cut down on necessary battery size and lower energy consumption.

Battery-powered electric vehicles have been gaining popularity in the industry. Kirkland Lake Gold successfully implemented them at the Macassa and South Mine Complex in 2012, and about one third of the site’s equipment fleet is now electric. Glencore, to deal with ventilation challenges at its new Onaping Depth deposit in Sudbury, Ontario, designed the site around a planned all-electric mining vehicle fleet. And Goldcorp announced in September it would partner with Sandvik to design the Borden Lake project in Chapleau, Ontario as an all-electric mine.