SMS delivers world’s largest excavator – Komatsu PC8000 – to Copper Mountain

SMS Equipment has delivered the world’s largest excavator – an electric Komatsu PC8000-11 – to the Copper Mountain mine owned 75% by […]
Representatives of Komatsu Germany, Hudbay, and SMS Equipment gather at Copper Mountain mine to celebrate the arrival of a new Komatsu PC8000-11 excavator to expand the operation’s growing electric fleet. Credit: SMS Equipment

SMS Equipment has delivered the world’s largest excavator – an electric Komatsu PC8000-11 – to the Copper Mountain mine owned 75% by Hudbay Minerals and 25% by Mitsubishi Materials near Princeton, B.C. The new excavator will be used to load Komatsu 830E electric haul trucks at the mine.

At 9.7 meters tall and 10 meters wide, the Komatsu PC8000-11 is the largest surface mining excavator on the market. With an impressive list of technical specifications, this particular model delivers more than a hefty payload – it will operate solely on electricity, contributing to the operation’s emissions-reduction strategy.

“Embracing a sustainable future through electrification is an important step in our collective journey to decarbonization,” says Dennis Chmielewski, executive VP mining at SMS Equipment. “We are a proud equipment, service and technology solutions partner to Hudbay and a long-time supporter of the Copper Mountain mine trolley-assist project. The addition of a large-capacity excavator to the mine’s electric infrastructure marks exciting progress on its path to net-zero.”

The Copper Mountain mine is one of the only open pit mines in North America to operate an electric trolley-assist haulage system. The 1-km haul ramp and seven pantograph-equipped electric haul trucks that comprise the project were commissioned in the spring of 2022, in partnership with SMS Equipment, Komatsu, ABB, Clean BC, and B.C. Hydro. The latest PC8000 joins two other electric excavators operating at the site that complement the mine’s overall electric fleet.

“Electric equipment and infrastructure significantly reduce our reliance on diesel, the largest source of GHG emissions at the mine,” says Walt Halipchuk, director of sustainability and assets at Hudbay. “With the help of this technology, we are on track to reduce our emissions in 2024 by 6,000 tonnes of CO2e.”

The nearly 800-metric-ton Komatsu shovel was made in Germany and assembled at Copper Mountain mine earlier this year.

Komatsu builds its excavators with the most extreme conditions in mind. The power train has two main drives, each with its own gearbox. Open circuit hydraulics provide maximum cooling and filtering efficiency. Lubrication is automatic. The undercarriage has self-adjusting tracks that can handle 50% grades. The PC8000 moves at a stately 2.4 km/h. The operator cab is fitted with air conditioning, noise dampening pads, a heated seat, and other comfort and safety features. Different bucket options and wear packages are available.

"SMS Equipment knows how to take care of a customer. Globally, I recall a few times where we've had machines sitting and waiting for parts and support, but that’s not generally the case with SMS Equipment," Komatsu North America’s sales and marketing manager Bryce Short says. "We use SMS Equipment as a benchmark for other dealers. Additionally, my experience has proven that the team is willing to support the other guys. For example, SMS Equipment has supported other Komatsu dealers by moving parts across the U.S.A. border. They're a strong support and solutions-driven company."

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