India’s typical rigid mining truck class for many years has been 100 ton (91 t) represented by models like the locally made Caterpillar 777, BEML BH100 and Komatsu HD785. Looking at the 777 as an example, it has a long history – first produced in India way back in 1986 as the 777B and followed by the 777C in 1991, 777D in 1996, and 777E in 2016.
But to increase productivity, particularly in the coal sector where demand from utilities is surging, more and more Indian mines are now investing in larger classes of both trucks and shovels. All of the Caterpillar mining trucks produced in India are made at the Tiruvallur factory in Tamil Nadu by Caterpillar India Private Ltd’s (CIPL) Resource Industries Operations and Products (RIOP) division. This facility has been producing since 1971. In the mining market the trucks are represented by India’s two long standing dealers GMMCO, part of CK Birla Group and based in Chennai and Gainwell Commonsales, based in Kolkata.
Significant numbers of 214 ton (195 t) class 789D trucks have already been imported to India from the US factory in Decatur, Illinois, but this year, a major milestone has reached when three 789D trucks made in Tiruvallur were commissioned at the Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) Dudhichua project, NCL being part of state coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL).
These trucks are part of a major contract worth over $260 million signed by NCL with Caterpillar India and GMMCO in January 2023 for 47 locally made 789D trucks including eight years of spares. Of these 47 789D units, 20 are for Dudhichua, 13 for Jayant, 13 for Nigahi and 1 for Khadia. The trucks have a Cat 1,468 kW 3516C HD EUI engine. Looking ahead, production of the 789D in India will soon by followed by the 793GC which will potentially have a payload of up to 265 tons depending on the dump body used.