Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) expects to put a fuel cell powered mine locomotive through its paces in the first half of this year. The locomotive will initially be tested on surface at AngloPlat’s Dishaba mine, in Limpopo province, South Africa. “Hopefully by March/April, we’ll have a loco on surface that will be fuel cell based,” Anglo Platinum market development and research head Anthea Bath told Mining Weekly Online.

The point of the demonstration will be to show that fuel cell powered locomotives can provide superior productivity and zero-emission underground transport. The locomotives currently run off battery power.

Amplats, the world’s leading primary producer of platinum group metals, is working closely with the South African government to develop the business of fuel cells. A 100 million rand fund has made its first allocation to a US company manufacturing and marketing fuel cell systems in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.