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Chinese battery maker CATL to make unmanned electric mining technology

Unmanned mining technology is expected to solve the problems of high oil consumption, heavy pollution, low efficiency, and unsafe working conditions in the industry.

Mining Source: Unsplash.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) (300750:SZ) on Thursday announced a joint venture with Henan Yuexin Intelligent Machinery Co., Ltd. to develop and promote unmanned electric mining technology.

According to the company’s calculations, a single electric mining truck can save nearly RMB 300,000 (USD 42,788) in energy costs per year, Sina News reported.

Unmanned mining technology refers to equipment and software that allows mining operators to use their equipment from a distance. While the industry currently requires operators to physically run large, often dangerous machinery such as haulers and excavators, unmanned machinery lets them work above ground or from afar. Additionally, route and task automation can save time and fuel through improved efficiency.

According to CATL, if the technology is used nationwide, it can reduce the consumption of crude oil by 20 million tons and reduce the emission of four major pollutants—particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur, and nitrogen dioxide—by 1.3 million tons. The company also expects production efficiency to increase and mining cost to go down. Autonomous operations in mines should also contribute to reducing accidents in mining areas.

Founded in 2016, Henan Yuexin develops AI-backed autonomous technologies for construction machinery. According to the company’s website, its equipment is being used in Luomo’s Sandaozhuang molybdenum mine in Luanchuan County. In March, Henan Yuexin signed an agreement with Huawei to apply 5G technology for the first time in unmanned mines.

CATL was established in 2011 and is now a global leader in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. With headquarters in Ningde, it operates manufacturing bases in Qinghai and Liyang, as well as major R&D centers in Shanghai, Ningde, and Berlin, Germany. According to SNE Research, CATL holds nearly one-third of the global market share in lithium-ion power battery sales.