"We are the first company in the world to produce a mine-duty battery charger that is designed for underground mining, and that was done more than 10 years ago!"
What has driven demand for Adria Power Systems’ (Adria) services in the past months?
In 2012, we started to supply charging infrastructure for battery-powered equipment and have continued our journey on that path ever since. During the IMARC Convention in Australia in October 2022, we launched our new generation of high-power chargers. This advanced, new-generation system has more features for the customers. Since then, we started having orders from a Canadian and a US-based OEMs. We are in contact with 95% of mining machinery and OEM players that are going towards electrification. There is a big shift in the mining industry to go into electrification and battery-powered machinery. We are the first company in the world to produce a mine-duty battery charger that is designed for underground mining, and that was done more than 10 years ago! We were avant-guardian in that regard and have developed our technology since.
Where do you view the main opportunities for your chargers?
The opportunities are limitless. Our main paths to the market are through OEMs currently, as well as directly with mining companies. Overall, we were able to foresee what were going to be the challenges in the industry, which put us in a very strong position with major OEMs. A lot of OEMs started working with commercial charging systems, then shifted to our solutions, as they understand that reliability and robustness are key in the long term. Customers now understand the difference between price and value: yes, a commercial charger is cheaper, but how much does it cost to replace it every year? How this cost affects the availability of the mining machinery? How the machine availability affects the production cost of a mine? This is where the value and reliability of our system shine.
With more underground mining required to meet green transition goals, how do you expect demand to evolve?
We expect aggressive growth on the charging infrastructure side. That will also push the first core business, electrical equipment for underground mines. If you have more charging infrastructure, you put pressure on the electrical infrastructure of the mine, which brings a necessity for robust electrical deployment at the mine site. In parallel, there are other sectors we are starting to work with. Many face the same challenges in terms of equipment reliability and movement. Mining remains a more mature market in terms of industrial and electrification aspects, but we are looking at other sectors: defense and construction mostly. There is a gain in social license associated with it by cutting GHG emissions. It shows the community that the mining industry is willing to do its part.
How robust is the electrical infrastructure serving mines in Québec?
The electrical infrastructure is the main challenge that a lot of industries will face. No one can say that they have the grid to support their work. But this will spark innovation and will bring smart ways to use the existing tools. In Québec, the advantage is clean energy. We have a lot of power available, a utility company that is state-owned and innovating in how it manages its infrastructure. Mining firms have a strong service entrance, with a lot of power available. The grid challenge can be solved by having management systems to control which charging infrastructure will get power to prevent any peak. We are also working on bringing innovations to cope with those challenges. Québec is known for its innovation. A lot of underground mines are in the North, which pushed the industry to develop its ways and tools for centuries, as they did not have the same access and solutions as highly populated areas. They had to be handy, this pushed innovation a lot. This has been embedded in the culture of mining in Québec for centuries.
What will be the targets for Adria in 2023?
2023 will be a key year for us. I think we will secure more orders with a wider variety of OEMs. We have a lot of testing planned in the summer and fall, so I am expecting a good market penetration at the end of the year. OEMs that have proprietary charging technologies are being pressured by the end user to move into a more standardized solution, which would be a driver for the mine site to adopt our technology.