Why rent when you can buy? No, this isn't a real estate ad, but it's the question Jason Wyman, General Manager for the Mine and Tailings team at Fort Hills, has been asking about the site's fleet of trucks and shovels that moves approximately 300 million tonnes of material every year.

"The decision to invest in new equipment, specifically 23 Komatsu 980 haul trucks and one hydraulic shovel, was introduced from the annual mine plan," explains Jason. "The mine plan outlines production targets and operational strategies, ultimately determining the required equipment. As Fort Hills grew, trucks and shovels were initially purchased in 2014; however, as volumes increased and haul distances grew, rental equipment was secured to meet business plan commitments. This rental equipment comes at a significant premium, affecting the mine's overall cost structure.” 

Overall, we have invested in 55 new trucks for the region, with 23 allocated to our Fort Hills site, and 32 to Base Plant. The investment in haul trucks and shovels will reduce the mine's operating cost.

At Fort Hills, the new trucks and hydraulic shovel will be gradually rolled out throughout 2024, including the Komatsu PC 9000, the largest hydraulic shovel in the world, arriving towards the end of the year. "The new equipment will reinforce a commitment to Fort Hills' competitiveness," says Jason.

Along with the new fleet come ambitious goals for Fort Hills like driving down the cost per tonne. "Given the substantial volume of material moved annually, the new equipment will position Fort Hills as a best-in-class operator, surpassing the limitations of the previous rental strategy," says Jason.

"The ownership of equipment allows for more control over maintenance programs, increasing equipment availability and overall efficiency," says Jason.

Fort Hills' investment in trucks and shovels will help Suncor achieve its goal of being Canada's leading energy provider by enhancing operational efficiency and reducing costs. As the new equipment is gradually integrated into the mine's operations, the team remains optimistic about the positive impact it will have on Fort Hills' long-term success.