Amplats to trial hydrogen powered engines in 400 trucks at Mogalakwena

ANGLO American Platinum (Amplats) will next year convert 400 mine haul trucks to hydrogen power in a pilot plant that, if successful, will be extended throughout Anglo American, said Bloomberg News.

“We are developing a technology that we believe will set a new trajectory for zero emissions,” said Jana Marais, spokeswoman for Amplats, the platinum group metal firm in which Anglo American has an 80% shareholding.

The hydrogen truck could cut emissions at Anglo’s mines to zero, Marais told Bloomberg News. The truck conversions will be carried out by Engie SA.

More than 400 mine-haul trucks will be rebuilt to use hydrogen fuel at Amplats’ open-pit Mogalakwena mine in South Africa. A 3.5MW electrolyser will produce hydrogen on site, while the trucks will also be fitted with a platinum catalyst, said Bloomberg.

Anglo has reiterated targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% over the next decade compared with a 2016 baseline, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Long-term goals include a net carbon-neutral business by 2040.

Research house SFA Oxford, which is owned by another platinum producer, Sibanye-Stillwater, estimated in a report in May that hydrogen-fuelled vehicles could absorb as much as 500,000 ounces in platinum demand by 2030 from 60,000 oz this year.

“The hydrogen economy is definitely gaining momentum,” Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Tharisa, told Miningmx in June. “It is still a blue-sky industry but we’re in this for the long-term,” he said.