ALROSA is considering converting its fleet of supersize mine trucks and road trains to run in LNG and diesel mode. The switch would reduce open-pit mining costs, increase operational efficiency and improve overall environmental performance, reducing emissions by one third. Annual savings are estimated to reach RUB 0.5 billion (USD 6,750,000).
Currently, the core dimensions of the conversion project have been set ready for further evaluation and review. The project would see the transfer of more than 200 pieces of heavy machinery to LNG and diesel operation at the Aikhal and Udachny Divisions. It envisages the construction of an LNG plant in Udachny and refueling infrastructure that will include both fixed and mobile cryogenic filling stations.
According to experts, switching heavy equipment to using LNG and diesel at the same time would reduce liquid fuel costs by RUB 400–500 mln annually. Moreover, the project will have a positive environmental impact, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20–30% in CO2 equivalent.
The project’s pilot phase is currently being scheduled. Over a period of about 16 months, several types of diesel and LNG-converted equipment will be pilot-tested in real conditions. If all goes well, a decision will be made to build the LNG infrastructure and implement a full-scale switch to LNG and diesel operation for motor vehicles.
“Converting the vehicles would neither affect their technical performance nor require replacing their fuel systems. But, according to our calculations, it would reduce our consumption of diesel, which today costs approximately twice as much as natural gas, by more than 40%,” said Ruslan Sizonov, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Vehicle Management and Production Support of ALROSA.