Haul Trucks

Lower emissions, increased profit for mines

Posted on 08 November 2017 by Lucie Maluck, Images by MTU Archive

As well as being cleaner, the Tier 4 engine generation for mine vehicles uses far less fuel than older engines.

Clean engines are good for the environment – and for profits in the mining industry. And as well as being cleaner, the Tier 4 engine generation for mine vehicles uses far less fuel than older engines.

There is a common belief that whilst ecologically sound engines may be good for the environment, higher fuel consumption makes them uneconomical. That is simply wrong. “Modern MTU Tier 4 mining engines are significantly more efficient than their predecessors and that makes them more cost-effective,” explained Ran Archer, Sales Manager, Mining, at MTU. “Some Tier 4 engines even use just as little fuel as MTU’s extremely frugal Tier 1 units,” he added. In the USA, mining engines over 550 kW have been subject to Tier 4 exhaust emissions regulations since January 1, 2015. However, during a transitional period extending to January 1, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is permitting the use of Tier 2 or Tier 4 interim engines in mining vehicles. Despite this, many mine operators have decided to skip this option and move directly to MTU’s clean Tier 4 engines. With annual fuel costs for a single large 400-ton haul truck running at US $1.5 million, that means considerable cost savings. Fuel costs can make up 80% or even 90% of a mine’s operating costs. Reducing that bill has a major influence on profits.

Clean engines boost productivity

In many mines, production levels also depend on emissions performance because permits to extract raw materials are often coupled with total emissions generated during the mining process. For example, if vehicles repowered with clean engines output fewer emissions, the mine may be allowed to operate more vehicles. That means clean engines not only improve profitability, they also boost productivity. 

Repowering creates savings

Repowering existing haul trucks has yet another benefit. It means the new engines can be operated to match their ideal performance curve. For example, a truck used to haul copper- or gold-bearing ores from a mine has a significantly higher load factor than a coal-mining truck. Operating all haul trucks with the same engine model at the same rated power (as often happens) is uneconomical. Repowering provides the chance to match the engine perfectly to its application, achieving even further fuel savings.

Proven success

Several mine operators seized the chance to test the new MTU engines before the official sales kick-off. Four years ago, for example, MTU replaced the 16V Series 4000 Tier 1 engine in a Komatsu 930 haul truck with a modern Tier 4 engine in the same series. The mine operator ran the tests to find out more about the latest Tier 4 engine technology before the new emissions regulations kicked in. The aim was to accurately gage how the new units would influence mine operation and maintenance processes. The MTU engineers involved used the opportunity to get a more accurate picture of the performance capabilities of their Tier 4 technology in a tough mining environment. Instead of using a 16-cylinder engine, they fitted a 12-cylinder Series 4000 unit – and the move proved successful. The Type 12V 4000 Tier 4 engine delivered 1,864 kW (2,500 PS) of power and reached the same speed on slopes as its 16-cylinder Tier 1 predecessor – whilst using significantly less fuel. “We couldn’t have given the customer better proof that our Tier 4 engines deliver outstanding value,” concluded Archer


The content of the stories reflects the status as of the respective date of publication. They are not updated. Further developments are therefore not taken into account.

Point of Contact

Ran Archer
+1 248 560 8064
+1 248 560 9064
+1 248 260 8064

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