MacLean Engineering says its near-term focus in the first half of 2019 is the completion and delivery of its first battery-electric Ore Flow unit to Goldcorp’s Borden gold project in Ontario, Canada.Reflecting on a year of developments in 2018, the production support vehicle specialist said this unit – made up of an EV BH3 Blockholer with MacLean remote control – would bring its electric vehicle fleet at the site, near Chapleau, to 15 units. This comprises six bolters and nine utility vehicles.Borden, which currently has 950,000 oz of reserves, is scheduled to begin commercial production in the second half of 2019.The year 2018 was a significant one for MacLean. Not only did it acquire Anchises Equipment and the former MTI test facility in Sudbury, it also filled out its order book and completed fleet orders for new mining regions such as Nunavut, Labrador, Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Don MacLean, Chairman and Founder of MacLean, said.As fleet orders have continued to come in, the company has increased the size of its Owen Sound, Ontario, plant – which is now handling mining equipment as well as municipal vehicles – and expanded the size of its existing facility in Queretaro, Mexico, he added.“This investment in MacLean Mexico will bring us closer to our Latin American customer base while also helping to alleviate production bottlenecks at our Canadian plants,” Don MacLean said.During 2018, the company was able to put one of its electric vehicles to the test at an underground ramp trial at a gold mine in Val d’Or, Quebec.A battery-electric boom truck (BT3-EV) was run alongside its diesel equivalent, carrying out the same work on the same section of the underground mine ramp. The results were compelling.“The key finding was that the battery-electric truck used 88% less energy than the diesel truck and, it did so with greater operator comfort (zero emissions, less noise, less heat, less vibration), and higher speeds up-ramp with the unit fully loaded,” Don MacLean said.He added: “We can now say with confidence, over two years into our fleet electrification programme launched officially at MINExpo, back in 2016, that our battery bolter and battery support vehicles (boom truck, cassette truck, scissor truck) are proven, high-performing, lower total cost of ownership options for companies looking to make the switch to emissions-free mining.”And, while the Sudbury-based firm has been successfully making inroads into the battery-electric vehicle space, it also said it has big plans when it comes to automation.Last year, MacLean acquired Anchises Equipment and hired its design team to deliver MacLean “a proven remote-control technology, along with in-house R&D and remote-control circuit board manufacturing capacity”, the company said, in 2018.In its latest report, Don MacLean said: “This team is now driving MacLean’s progressive rollout of semi- to fully-autonomous operation product offers, all designed and built within our own manufacturing ecosystem.”MacLean Engineering’s Jeff Anderson will be appearing in a joint talk on the Borden gold project at The Electric Mine conference, in Toronto, next week. To hear more about the event and secure one of the last remaining delegate places, click here.