Sandvik canvassed various options for new underground mining vehicle production before settling on Malaysia, a spokesperson has confirmed, with Australia to remain a key market for the plant’s output.
The spokesperson wouldn’t say if Australia – the world’s largest underground mining truck and loader market – was one of the locations examined.
“Malaysia was chosen as a good location for the factory after an extensive review, and I am afraid I am not able to comment on what other alternatives were considered during this process,” he told InvestMETS.com after Sandvik announced it would invest plus-US$32 million in the plant near Kuala Lumpur. The facility will add underground truck and loader manufacturing capacity, including battery-electric vehicle production.
“You are correct that Australia is an important market for Sandvik, and we certainly expect that Australia will be one of several important markets for mining load and haul EVs,” the spokesperson said.
Sandvik, one of the world’s top-two suppliers of underground hard-rock mining equipment, has said it believes more than 50% of its equipment sales in that market will be electrified by 2030, when it expects to have a fully-electric underground hard-rock range available.
“Demand for our loaders and trucks is exceeding our current production capacity at our existing factories,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions load and haul division president Patricio Apablaza said. The company spent €10 million last year to increase BEV loader and truck production at Turku in Finland.
Malaysia equipment production at limited initial capacity is planned to start in the December quarter this year. Sandvik’s isn’t specifying the expected ramp-up pace, but has said it could be producing up to 300 loaders and trucks and 500 battery cages by 2030.
President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, Mats Eriksson, said: “Malaysia is among the most technologically developed countries in Southeast Asia and has abundant skilled labour, strong local industrial suppliers and reliable infrastructure. Our mining customers in Asia Pacific will enjoy shorter lead times for equipment manufactured to the same Sandvik standards for quality and safety.”
The new facility location is 90km south-east of Port Klang, Malaysia’s largest seaport and one of the busiest container terminals in the world.
Sandvik said in its latest annual report it expanded its BEV offering in 2022, adding the largest battery-powered dump truck (65 tonnes payload) for underground mining.
“Strategically significant orders for our BEV and automation solutions were received and we also saw an increase in sales of our combined surface drilling equipment and automation systems,” the company said.
“An example is the order received from Foran Mining, worth SEK330 million for 20 new Sandvik BEVs, including trucks, loaders and drills, for use at its McIlvenna Bay project in Canada.”