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The Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative – a supply chain collaboration comprising the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), its 27 member companies and some of the world’s leading mine vehicle and OEMs – has made significant progress towards understanding what is needed to transform today’s fleet of mining vehicles into tomorrow’s new generation of cleaner, safer vehicles. CHANTELLE KOTZE speaks to ICMM director SARAH BELL to find out more.

The ICSV programme was launched in October 2018, in recognition of the ICMM’s stance on climate change, as well as its aim to reduce vehicle collision related incidents and to improve health exposures through a reduction in diesel particulates.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 1, 2021
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The ambitions of the initiative are to introduce greenhouse gas emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040, minimise the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025 and make vehicle collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025.

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Moreover, the growing need and importance of mined raw materials – from supporting the promotion of sustainable economic growth and the building of resilient and inclusive communities to enabling the innovations needed to address the urgency of climate change –means that these metals and minerals must be produced responsibly, says Bell.

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Two years on from announcing these ambitions, eight new OEMs have joined the initiative, taking the number of participating OEMs to 19 – showcasing that the ICSV initiative has achieved the critical step of sending strong signals to OEMs and third-party technology providers on their requirements and on what is needed to accelerate development and adoption of technology across the industry.     

In 2020, the ICMM developed tools to support the industry, OEMs and third party technology providers to meet the initiative’s ambitions. These tools include a Knowledge Hub that facilitates knowledge-sharing of industry innovations, provides technical and practical resources including case studies, standards, regulations and a technology and solutions database.

Additionally, a set of ‘maturity frameworks’ that help to map, motivate and measure progress against the ambitions were published, with the intention to stimulate conversations within companies that drive thinking, decision making and action.

Bell explains that an important part of the ICSV initiative is forming the aggregated assessment of ICMM members’ progress towards each of the three ambitions. The ICMM members, which represent approximately 30% of the global metals market with over 650 assets, have undertaken self-assessments to establish a clearer view of progress made towards each of the ambitions at a site level.

The exercise indicated that the ICMM member companies are generally at the early stages of maturity on their journey towards meeting the initiatives’ ambitions.

It also informed how companies can increase their ‘readiness to adopt’ existing or new technologies such as through initiating ‘change conversation’ at all levels within the business to seek alignment on the path ahead. 

To support adoption readiness within member companies, the initiative’s working groups also developed a set of implementation pathways to illustrate the optionality that industry has to achieve the ambitions by identifying currently available solutions and developments challenge to meet or surpass the ambition statements.

Lastly, the exercise signalled to OEM participants in the initiative that the journey towards the ambitions is not that different across region, commodity and type of operation. With ICMM members generally at early stages, there is a critical mass to create an industry shift.

With industry feedback at hand, the ICMM member companies will, in 2021, focus on building their readiness to adopt technologies by integrating the ICSV initiative’s goals into their corporate planning processes, allocating internal resources and effectively leveraging external resources such as synergies with other industry initiatives and collaboration between member companies.

“They are also in the process of understanding where they currently rank against the ambitions, committing to a desired ‘future state’ and establishing a unique rate of change, as well as identifying areas for further collaboration,” notes Bell.

The ICSV programme is being guided and governed by a CEO Advisory Group comprising leaders from both the ICMM member companies and the OEMS.

Nick Holland, chief executive of Gold Fields and chair of the CEO Advisory Group says that there is a critical need to advance work on cleaner, safer vehicles in mining, which will have important health and safety benefits and contribute towards the pressing need of decarbonising the mining industry.

“It is recognised that there are measures we can implement now, but other, more impactful, interventions are reliant on technology pathways that are still evolving. This will undoubtedly take time, but the industry’s collaboration with OEMs, through the ICMM, is critical as we look for these long-term, sustainable and integrated solutions,” he notes.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry notes the importance ofsafer, cleaner mining equipment for both people and the world but understands the importance of doing this as a collective.

“The ICSV initiative is a great example of the collaborative industry-level effort that can help bring about the scale and pace of change that is needed,” he says.

This is iterated by ICMM CEO Tom Butler, who further notes the need to accelerate the level of innovation investment required to scale up commercial solutions. 

According to Caterpillar group president Denise Johnson, the company is committed to helping customers operate safely and sustainably and the progress to date within the ICSV program has helped to form a shared understanding of where the industry is on its journey and demonstrates that by working together we can more quickly accelerate the pace of change.”

As the mining industry rebuilds following the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be continued demand for minerals to support a greener and more sustainable future.

“Because the mining industry plays a critical role in meeting this demand, the industry will need to find the right balance between producing these vital materials, protecting jobs and protecting the safety and wellbeing of workers and communities, says Bell, noting that the ICMM and its member companies will continue to strive to do this.