Meet Africa’s first, and only, licensed hydrogen truck operator


By Staff Writer

MOGALAKWENA-Alex Tumisang Matlala 34, who hails from Mokopane, in Waterberg District, is Africa’s first, and only, licensed hydrogen truck operator.

On Friday, May 06, Matlala took the wheel of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck designed to operate in everyday mining conditions at Mogalakwena PGMs mine in Limpopo.

A qualified diesel mechanic by trade, Matlala passed his global test on how to operate the machine and is now the sole operator of the hydrogen-powered truck.

He has his eyes set on becoming a hydrogen truck safety facilitator as Anglo American increases the truck’s workload from 3 hours per day to 24 hours, introduces shift drivers and operators, and eventually transitions to using hydrogen trucks across all its operations.

Meanwhile, Anglo American invited President Cyril Ramaphosa to the unveiling of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck which is set to operate in everyday mining conditions at its Mogalakwena open pit platinum mine.

In his adress President Cyril Ramaphosa said “It’s a real joy and pleasure to be here in this place for the launch of the nuGen™ truck, it is a smart step for Anglo American but a giant leap for South Africa’s hydrogen economy as we move into the future.

President, Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at the nuGen™ hydrogen-battery hybrid mining truck launch

The hydrogen economy is beckoning us as a country and as an industry. It has definitely arrived for South Africa – thank you very much to Anglo American. We are making world history right here in Mogalakwena, in Limpopo and in South Africa.”

He also emphasised the importance of the truck in South Africa’s journey to net zero as a signatory of the Paris Agreement. But he added that it also relects an sustainability obligation to the South African people to reduce emissions and work towards achieving carbon neutrality.

“It is the genesis of our entire hydrogen economy. They [Anglo American] have delivered on what they committed to do.”

He closed by suggesting that Anglo’s next move should be the nuGen™ truck running autonomously, controlled by remote operators.

The 2 MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, generating more power than its diesel predecessor and capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload, is part of Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS). nuGen™ provides a fully integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of production, fuelling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site.

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