Anglo American Platinum Pioneering Fuel Cell Locomotive

Dignitaries at the fuel cell locomotive launch, from left: Godfrey Gomwe, executive director Anglo American SA;
Cassel Mathale, Premier Limpopo Province; Susan Shabangu, Minister of the Department of Mineral Resources
(DMR); Cynthia Carroll, CEO Anglo American plc; Neville Nicolau, CEO Anglo American Platinum; and Rudi Rudolph,
general manager, Khomanani mine. The fuel cell locomotive breaks through a banner announcing launch (inset).
Anglo American Platinum unveiled a prototype platinum-based fuel-cell-pow-ered mine locomotive in South Africa in mid-May 2012. Surface testing of the locomotive is planned to take place dur-ing the third quarter. The industry-lead-ing project was delivered in collabora-tion with Vehicle Projects, Trident South Africa and Battery Electric. After the initial testing period, the partnership will construct five fuel-cell locomotives for underground use at one of Anglo American Platinum’s mines.

“As part of Anglo American Platinum’s commitment to the develop-ment of fuel cells, in 2011 the compa-ny identified uses for fuel cells in its own operations,” the Anglo American Platinum announcement said. “Mining locomotives were identified as an ideal opportunity. Partners were identified through a global search to pioneer this development. Current original equip-ment manufacturers were integrated with the fuel cell developers to ensure seamless system integration.

“Anglo American Platinum, with its partners, aims to demonstrate the supe-rior energy efficiency and productivity of fuel-cell-powered locomotives. The new technology is also believed to offer an environmentally-friendly and safer means of underground transportation.”

Neville Nicolau, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, said, “These inno-vative locomotives will provide us with an opportunity to mine platinum in a more economic, energy-secure, and environmentally-benign manner. The locomotives will not require any elec-tricity from the grid to function and will not emit noxious gases.”

Anglo American Platinum is the world’s largest platinum producer. The company is collaborating with the South African government and technol-ogy partners to explore uses of fuel cell energy sources that contribute to a reduced carbon footprint.

The company and South Africa’s Departments of Mineral Resources and Science and Technology are also working to encourage and support greater local beneficiation of platinum. Among its objectives, this partnership is seeking to develop a local fuel cell manufacturing, distribution, marketing and servicing industry that will be globally competitive.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 06 -