Northern College, Sandvik sign MOU for BEV training program

“It’s important to be aware of the fact that the technology powering battery-electric vehicles is considerably different than that of diesel machines,” Audrey Penner, President and CEO of Northern College, said in a release. “Servicing and maintaining these fleets requires a different skillset than what is required for a diesel-powered fleet because BEVs have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components. For that reason, the Canadian mining industry requires a new generation of service technicians who are trained in servicing electrically powered machinery and Northern College is responding to that call for talent and training,” Penner added.

Northern College and the Haileybury School of Mines will develop a program with Sandvik and their partners to educate participants in BEV technology. Sandvik will serve as a subject matter expert on the topic of BEVs in a mining application to ensure that program graduates are educated in areas that are relevant for the mining industry.

“This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry while also supporting resource development in the communities close to the mines using BEV technology,” added Peter Corcoran, VP Canada with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.

“We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in the BEV field as more operations transition to low-emissions equipment. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated,” Corcoran said. “This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

One industry proponent of BEVs in mining is Kirkland Lake Gold.

“Using BEV(s) at our Macassa Mine benefits us in a number of ways, including significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving working conditions and reducing capital requirements for ventilation” added Evan Pelletier, Kirkland Lake Gold’s VP of mining.

Pelletier explained that Kirkland Lake Gold was among the first to bring electrification to the mining industry, and the company has seen significant improvements in BEV technology in a relatively short time. Based on Kirkland Lake’s experience, Pelletier believes that the participation of both Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and mining companies in the development of a technician training program will be an important contributor to the program’s success.

“Working with colleges will help Kirkland Lake Gold further develop our technicians in this field,” Pelletier explained. “The program will not only develop new technicians, it will help to establish BEV standards in the industry that will lead the way for future advancements.”

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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