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First Liebherr mining excavator in eastern Canada goes to work at Quebec lithium mine

A line of people in high-vis vests in front of a large mining excavator
Representatives from Liebherr and Fournier mark the arrival of the R 9150 at the Quebec mine site. Liebherr Canada

A gigantic Liebherr mining excavator, the first to be commissioned in eastern Canada, has been delivered for use at a lithium ore mining operation in Quebec.

The 130-tonne Liebherr R 9150 was delivered in January to L. Fournier & Fils (Fournier), a general contractor working in the industrial, civil, and mining sectors. It will work in the Abitibi-Temiskaming region at the North American Lithium operation, part of the largest spodumene - lithium ore - reserve in North America.

Fournier first met with Liebherr-Canada at the 2023 CIM Expo in Montreal, and within seven months had become a customer. Tom Juric, divisional director of mining for Liebherr-Canada, credited the entire mining team for bringing Fournier aboard.

"It's important to us that the Canadian mining industry understands we not only supply fantastic digging, hauling, and dozing solutions, but also products and services that can optimize the performance and longevity of our machines," Juric said.

Fournier representatives were invited to Liebherr Canada facilities in Alberta in October 2023, with visits to the Fort McKay service centre and the Acheson sales and reman centre. Gabriel Routhier, operations superintendent for Fournier and a lifelong heavy equipment operator, was given the opportunity to try an R 9150, and the group also had the chance to see one at work in a limestone quarry.

"As soon as I started digging, I felt the power of the machine. It had the speed of a 50-tonne construction excavator," Routhier said. "When we were at the quarry, it only took three cycles to confirm the speed I experienced. At the time, I was wondering how it was possible for the machine to perform so effortlessly because I could barely hear the engine. Following discussions with the operator and the VP of operations, I was fully convinced the Liebherr R 9150 was the right tool for us."

Liebherr-Canada also showcased its ability to support customers across the entire life cycle of their equipment. Members of the company's customer service team met with the Fournier delegation to discuss how they would support the customer with comprehensive machine inspections, troubleshooting, and problem resolution strategies to maximize uptime. The Acheson reman facility provided a look at how Liebherr-Canada supports customers with parts planning, remanufacturing, and service.

The R 9150 will work round-the-clock, and Liebherr will provide full-time support to ensure maximum uptime. Liebherr Canada

"After speaking with multiple members of the customer service team at Liebherr-Canada, I was thoroughly impressed with their attention to detail, professionalism, and passion. Everyone from the service technicians to the customer service team and up to the managing director took time from their busy schedules to present the process from the point of sales to the detailed support plan," said Jason McNicoll, mechanical general superintendent for Fournier's mining operations. "Our visit to Alberta was an eye-opener for us and we believe this has the potential to be the beginning of a great partnership."

Once at work, the R 9150 will be running round the clock, so for maximum uptime, a Liebherr-Canada mining service technician will provide full-time support to the customer, and an inventory of consignment parts and components will be maintained at the North American Lithium site.

"North American Lithium operation is six hours away from our closest sales and service centre, which means that organizing service for unexpected maintenance or repairs can take days, rather than hours," explained Dominic Bergeron, Sales Representative for Liebherr-Canada. "By having someone on-site, we can ensure that Fournier will experience minimal downtime with their R 9150."

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