Tag Archives: Caterpillar

Alkane boosts Tomingley UG mining fleet with Sandvik, Epiroc, Cat and Volvo equipment

Alkane Resources is rolling out a A$16 million ($11.8 million) upgrade of its underground mining equipment fleet to support the development of the Tomingley Gold Extension project in New South Wales, Australia.

Alkane’s Tomingley Gold Operations (TGO) recently received a new Sandvik DL432i production drill, a fully-mechanised, highly versatile and compact electro-hydraulic top hammer longhole drill, to replace an older model drill, it said.

TGO, which recently replaced three of its Cat 2900 loaders, will also soon be receiving four new Epiroc MT65 trucks (65 t payload), four Volvo integrated tool carriers, as well as a Cat 140M grader and a new development jumbo drill.

TGO General Manager, Jason Hughes, said: “Our original underground second hand fleet has done a great job getting the project started with a very low capital outlay for what was a planned three-year mine life. Now, with an extended underground mine life out until at least 2026, it’s time to replace it with a new modern fleet.

“By committing A$16 million to a new fleet, we will be ensuring TGO will be an efficient and productive mining operation well into the future.”

The mine produced 56,958 oz of gold in the 12 months to June 30, 2021, with plans for it to produce 55,000-60,000 oz in the 12 months to June 30, 2022.

Finning captures large Cat equipment order from Codelco’s Andina, Chuquicamata mines

Caterpillar’s relationship with Codelco in Chile continues to strengthen with the OEM, through its Finning dealer, set to deliver mining support equipment and underground loaders to two of the copper miners’ operations.

The orders, revealed in Finning’s June quarter 2021 results, contributed to a building equipment backlog in mining and construction registered during the three-month period in South America.

New equipment sales were up 48% year-on-year in the June quarter in South America and up 14% from the March quarter of this year, driven by improved market activity, mostly in construction, Finning noted.

Finning’s backlog in South America included the Codelco orders.

First was a recently awarded order for Caterpillar support equipment from Codelco’s Andina mine, valued at C$40 million ($32 million), for delivery in the first half of 2022. In addition, the company plans to provide 27 Caterpillar R3000H underground loaders to Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine, with 10 of these machines included in its June quarter backlog.

Overall, Finning registered June quarter revenue of C$1.8 billion and net revenue of C$1.7 billion, up 30% and 28%, respectively, from a year earlier when COVID-19-related reductions in market activity hit.

All regions delivered a strong quarter, demonstrating operating leverage in a recovering market, Finning noted. June quarter EBIT as a percentage of net revenue was 9.3% in Canada, 9.8% in South America and 5.3% in the UK & Ireland, representing a step-up in profitability levels for all regions, the company said.

The company’s consolidated equipment backlog at June 30, 2021, increased to C$1.4 billion, from C$1.2 billion at March 31, 2021, with order intake in Canada and South America outpacing deliveries in the quarter, Finning said.

“We are pleased with our strong execution and results in the second (June) quarter,” Scott Thomson, President and CEO of Finning International, said. “With a reduced cost base and more efficient operations and supply chain, we are confident in our improved earnings capacity, which puts us firmly on track to achieve the mid-cycle targets we set out during our Investor Day in June.”

WesTrac to rebuild Rio’s Pilbara dozers at Geraldton facility

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and the Western Australia Government have agreed on a project that will see dozers from Rio’s Pilbara operations head to WesTrac’s Geraldton facility for rebuilds, with up to 54 machines committed between 2021 and 2025.

Western Australia Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, welcomed the news, saying it would provide a major boost for the Mid-West’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

The project was negotiated between the State Government through the Mid West Development Commission and industry after feasibility studies identified WesTrac’s Perth and Pilbara facilities were at capacity and unable to accommodate the additional repairs and maintenance required by Rio’s mining operations.

The Geraldton facility will receive up to 12 dozer rebuilds annually, from various Pilbara operations, according to the statement.

The project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities in the Mid-West as well as creating new local skilled jobs and providing pathways to employment with Rio Tinto, the government said. The project also reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area.

“The state will look to expand the initiative into a cross-regional Smart Specialisation project with linkages to the Kimberley and Goldfields regions, using the Mid-West as a demonstration pilot,” it added.

MacTiernan said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth. It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.”

Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director, Richard Cohen, said: “Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy.

“By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-km round trip to Perth. This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads.”

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome, said the company was committed to developing capacity and capability throughout the state.

“Like many providers in the METS sector, WesTrac is seeing strong demand across all areas of our business due to the level of mining and construction activity,” he said. “That applies to new and used equipment sales, training, maintenance services and equipment rebuilds, and if there are opportunities to expand our offerings in regional centres and provide efficient outcomes for our customers, we’ll happily consider them.”

As well as multiple metropolitan operations, WesTrac currently has branches in eight regional centres including the major Western Australia mining regions. The company also operates as the authorised dealer of Caterpillar equipment in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Berco bolsters Excavator Line with Cat 6020B undercarriage replacement range

Berco, a leader in the manufacturing and supply of undercarriages and components to OEMs and the aftermarket, has reached another milestone with the launch of its complete undercarriage replacement range for the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel.

Developed specifically for the high-quality demand mining segment of the aftermarket, this is the first “non-captive” range available to purchase, according to the company. This means that aside from Cat, Berco is the only company currently capable of providing a full and significantly more affordable variety of undercarriage replacement components for this particular machine, Berco said.

Launched in 2014, the Cat 6020B is a 230 ton (224 t) excavator at the high end of the mining range. Depending on the abrasiveness of the soil, undercarriage components need to be replaced every four-to-five years, according to Berco, meaning there are significant numbers of this particular model currently due undercarriage maintenance. This number, moreover, is forecast to grow in the coming years.

To meet this demand, Berco is supplying a full range of undercarriage components including the chain, the bottom rollers, the top rollers, the drive sprocket and idlers with supports. Everything is set to be available from September onwards.

“These machines must be capable of working in harsh environments for 20-24 hours a day without stopping, because when the main excavator on a site is out of service, it has a direct knock-on effect on all of the secondary machines,” Diego Buffoni, Head of Aftermarket Berco, said. “We are particularly proud of this new range launch, which will offer a great business opportunity for our partner distributors worldwide. On top of Berco’s acclaimed high quality, which it provides, it also signifies the path we are on, which is to supply comprehensive and affordable solutions to all aftermarket customers.”

For the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel range, Berco used a “reverse engineering” process to deconstruct the original equipment components. Three-dimensional material scanning was carried out to gain a complete understanding of the initial design criteria, while laboratory analysis determined the materials used as well as the heat treatments and microstructures.

“Having gained a full understanding of all of the components in question, company engineers then proceeded to develop their very own Berco-quality aftermarket undercarriage system, which is further boosted by the addition of another Berco innovation: BPR2™ (Berco Positive Pin Retention2™ system),” the company said. “This improves the working lifetime of the components by mechanically locking the link to the pin which results in the avoidance of ‘end-play generation’ and ‘pin walking’ in an undercarriage.”

For the track chain, a newly designed track link with a 350 mm pitch was produced using the “drop forged” process made from a mild carbon steel grade with boron. Unlike the original equipment product, however, the chemical composition of the Berco version is enriched with chromium to increase tensile resistance. In addition, the track bushing has a high resistance to wear. With 60 HRC hardness, it can contain pitch elongation, according to the company. The case depth has also been increased by 20-25% when compared with the original. The track pin, moreover, has deeper case depth and higher core hardiness, resulting in an improved bending load resistance, Berco said.

The track roller can, because of its lubrication and seal features, adopt an “all-weather” configuration, ranging from -40°C to 50°C. Additionally, three top rollers without a central flange support the heavy weight of the chain, and the oil filling hole has been moved to the outer collar to ensure full access to it.

With Berco’s Dozer Line already complete, the launch of its range for the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel brings the company closer to finishing its Excavator Line too.

Accounting for a large portion of all aftermarket sales, Berco says the mining market segment is of particular importance to it. The company is now looking to further strengthen its position by extending its mining ranges and becoming the only high-quality alternative to OEM components.

Newmont to add to Ghana gold production with Ahafo North development

Newmont Corp’s Board of Directors has approved advancing the Ahafo North project, in Ghana, into the execution phase, setting the company up to develop four open-pit mines and a standalone 3.7 Mt/y plant.

The project exceeds the company’s required internal rate of return, adding profitable production from the best unmined gold deposit in West Africa, it said.

Newmont President and CEO, Tom Palmer, said: “I am pleased to announce the approval of full funding for the Ahafo North project, expanding our existing footprint in Ghana and adding more than 3 Moz of gold production over an initial 13-year mine life. The development of this prolific orebody will leverage our proven operating model and will be supported by our existing world-class Ahafo South operation.

“The project will be developed and operated in a sustainable and responsible manner to create value for all our stakeholders.”

Located some 30 km north of Newmont’s existing Ahafo South operations (pictured) – which are expected to produce 515,000 oz of gold this year – Ahafo North’s production is expected to average approximately 275,000-325,000 oz/y with all-in sustaining costs of $600-$700/oz for the first five years. Projected capital costs are estimated to be between $750-$850 million with construction expected to be complete in the second half of 2023. At current gold prices, the project is expected to deliver more than a 30% internal rate of return, Newmont said.

The project will create approximately 1,800 jobs at the peak of construction with more than 550 permanent roles created once the mine is operational.

“Newmont will work to create lasting value for host communities through local sourcing and hiring,” the company said, adding that a key aspect of the Ahafo North project’s workforce planning will be a target to achieve gender parity in the workforce when operations begin.

The full scope of funding will be deployed to high-impact activities, including but not limited to finalising engineering and EPCM services, relocating the national highway and support of additional resettlement activities, mining development for four open pits, constructing and commissioning a 3.7 Mt/y plant, constructing a tailings and wastewater management storage facility, long-lead sourcing including the acquisition of 14 Caterpillar 770 haul trucks.

Fortescue hits new automation milestone in the Pilbara

Fortescue Metals Group’s autonomous haulage (AHS) fleet has marked a significant milestone, moving two billion tonnes of material, doubling the amount hauled since reaching the one billion tonne milestone in September 2019.

In 2012, Fortescue was the first in the world to deploy Caterpillar’s AHS technology on a commercial scale at its Solomon Hub operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia and the multi-class fleet has since expanded across the company’s operations with a total of 193 autonomous trucks now in operation.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue is a leader in the implementation of autonomous haulage across our iron ore operations. Our fleet represents one of the largest in the world, with 79 trucks currently in operation at Solomon, 74 at Christmas Creek and 40 at Cloudbreak. Moving over two billion tonnes of material without a driver at the wheel is a significant milestone and a reflection of Fortescue’s ongoing commitment to increasing operational efficiency through technology and innovation.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has led to significant safety improvements for our team members, with our fleet safely travelling over 70 million kilometres to date – the equivalent of 91 return trips to the moon.”

The continued expansion of autonomous capability across the business has demonstrated that autonomy doesn’t need to be at the expense of jobs, with the transition to autonomous haulage providing significant new opportunities for Fortescue’s workforce through the provision of training and redeployment to new roles, Fortescue said.

Gaines added: “Significantly, the adoption of autonomous haulage has allowed us to relocate many traditional site-based roles to our integrated operations centre in Perth, providing opportunities for parents and women in particular to remain engaged in our workforce. Today, almost 50% of our workforce in the Fortescue Hive are women.”

New Cat D11 dozer arrives at Stanwell’s Meandu coal mine

Stanwell’s Meandu coal mine in Queensland, Australia, has taken delivery of a new Cat D11 dozer from local distributor Hastings Deering.

Ensuring safe and efficient operation, the dozer provides operators with full command, as well as delivering higher productivity at lower cost, Stanwell said.

The mine, owned by Stanwell, has a 7 Mt/y thermal coal capability and is in Queensland’s South Burnett Region.

Engineered to be rebuilt multiple times, the new D11 has a redesigned main frame delivering lower total cost of ownership over the life of the machine, Cat says. Time-saving service updates reduce daily maintenance and boost machine uptime.

The unit comes with new load-sensing hydraulics, high-horsepower reverse and the latest technology to provide higher material movement at a lower cost per tonne.

The first new generation D11 dozer in the world started work at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Blackwater coal mine in Queensland, in 2019. National Group secured the first of these dozers earlier from Cat dealer Hastings Deering as part of an order that would see six of these machines hauled by its National Heavy Haulage subsidiary.

Cat to use NMG’s Matawinie graphite mine as ‘zero-emission machine’ testbed

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Caterpillar have signed an agreement pursuant to which Caterpillar will develop, test and produce Cat® “zero-emission machines” for the Matawinie graphite mine, in Quebec, Canada, with a view to becoming the exclusive supplier of an all-electric mining fleet for deployment at the mine by 2028.

Looking to accelerate and tailor the equipment development, Caterpillar will engage with Nouveau Monde’s team to incorporate “voice of customer” throughout the development, and for testing of the zero-emission fleet and infrastructure prior to commercial production, the companies said.

To this point, Caterpillar has only disclosed the development of a battery-electric 15 t LHD, the R1700 XE, however it came to light just over a year ago that the OEM was working on a separate project called ‘Project Verde’.

Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, Caterpillar Inc, previously stated on Project Verde: “Caterpillar has responded to customers by launching a project that is focused on energy and emissions reduction, and helping customers decrease their carbon footprints through machinery and power solutions that contribute to lower greenhouse gas.”

Speaking about the latest agreement between NMG and Cat, Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, commented: “I recall our first meeting with Caterpillar some two years ago, outlining our vision of a zero-emission mine in Québec. Our commitment to this vision has taken us to this very important moment, not only for Nouveau Monde, but for the global mining industry as a whole. Today, alongside Caterpillar, which in my opinion is the most trusted and reputable supplier of heavy-mining equipment worldwide, we can bring the zero-emission machines vision into reality.

“I think it is remarkable that Nouveau Monde, as a representative for the new style green resources industry, is part of spearheading the electrification of the industry, by collaborating with Caterpillar.”

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “We are proud to be a driving force for our peers as we strive to electrify our operations to meet our carbon neutrality commitments while maintaining the productivity and efficiency standards of our mining operations. Even more gratifying and important to our corporate mission is that our project can serve as a springboard for the future of the mining industry by collaborating with Caterpillar on these cutting-edge technologies.”

Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President, said: “The collaboration between Caterpillar and Nouveau Monde marks an important milestone in the mining industry. Through integrated technology, machines and services, the entire Caterpillar team is proud to support Nouveau Monde as they work towards constructing and establishing their first zero-emission mine.”

In November last year, NMG issued an “international call for pre-qualification” related to the fleet and charging infrastructure at Matawinie following work by the company’s International Task Force Committee. This work had allowed Nouveau Monde to explore “technologies, best practices and operational parameters to bring its vision to life in a cost-effective and technologically advanced way”.

As part of this pre-qualification program, companies were able to submit detailed proposals and performance specifications from their production equipment solutions between November 30 and January 30, 2021.

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc – both companies in Nouveau Monde’s taskforce committee – came up with the fleet outline at Matawinie.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” the report read.

The mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was also expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Immersive to supply simulators, solutions for Rio’s Gudai-Darri automation

Rio Tinto has enlisted the help of Immersive Technologies and its equipment simulators to further its autonomous haulage footprint at the new Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The mine, which will operate Caterpillar autonomous trucks equipped with Cat MineStar™ Command for Hauling system, will use simulation-based training solutions from Immersive Technologies to address the workforce development challenges within autonomous haulage operations with a focus on improving the safety and efficiency of their operator workforce, Immersive said.

Rio has used such systems from Immersive for over 17 years, understanding the value of investing in simulators for operator capability development, including equipment productivity and reliability initiatives, Immersive said.

Rio Tinto Vice President, Human Resources, Scott Browne, said: “This is an important component of our comprehensive training program for AHS, which includes supporting new team members as well as upskilling existing employees. Gudai-Darri will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines. Preparations are well under way to ensure its workforce is ready to take on the high-tech jobs on offer.”

Focused on capability development in the usage of the autonomous system, Rio Tinto partnered with Immersive Technologies to provide a solution to support the mine-readiness schedule and objectives, Immersive said. Specific training products include a platform which simulates a Cat 6060 excavator, Cat D10T dozer and Cat 18M grader. All simulator modules are equipped with an autonomous system panel and provide a safe and effective environment for training by allowing learners to operate their equipment while interacting with the autonomous trucks and managing their work areas as required, the company added.

The simulator solution is complimented by machine pre-start inspection software, which provides a detailed visualisation of equipment components, including autonomous components fitted to machines. Additionally, a ‘Virtual Classroom’ product hosts complex autonomous procedures that immerses learners in a safe and repeatable virtual environment which enables the development of deep knowledge and muscle memory of operational procedures, Immersive said.

Greg Karadjian, Regional Vice President Australia of Immersive, said: “Immersive Technologies is at the forefront of workforce development for autonomous haulage mining operations with deployments of simulation-based training solutions in more than 17 autonomous sites globally, by utilising blended learning systems, simulation and human performance analytics our solutions are preparing the workforces of the future.”

Back in 2019, Rio, Caterpillar and WesTrac signed an agreement to supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems at Gudai-Darri, with Rio confirming the supply of a fleet of 20 autonomous 793F trucks as well as four autonomous blast drills.

Gudai-Darri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in the Pilbara. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio’s flagship iron ore product.

Cat’s new D9 dozer set for mining market splash

Caterpillar is in the process of building the first new D9 large track-type tractors for the international market as you read this, with the popular mining dozer set to benefit from significant upgrades.

Nearly half of all Cat large dozers sold are D9s, with many of these workhorses regularly on show at mine operations across the globe. They compete in the same 400 horsepower (298 kWh)/50-ton (45-t) size class as the Komatsu D275 and Liebherr PR766/PR764.

Reviewing machine updates during a press event in late March, Todd Cole, Cat’s D9 Dozer Cat Application Specialist, listed off several reasons why miners might want to consider buying a machine for their earthmoving needs:

A 5% reduction in fuel consumption, as much as a 4% cut in maintenance and repair costs, a newly integrated Caterpillar AutoLube system, a quick opening hinged door for radiator access, safer underside maintenance inspections…the list goes on.

Many of these benefits, when combined, account for an up to 3% lower overall cost per unit in terms of bank cubic metres.

A 10-in cab display interface with HD multi-colour touchscreen enables users to navigate through various machine diagnostics, plus monitor the action of the ripper behind. There is also an optional four-camera system offering 360-degree view around the machine to further enhance operating safety.

Numerous grease point eliminations on the D9, compared with the D9T predecessor, further improve operational longevity and operating costs.

The fuel consumption benefits are felt thanks to a stator clutch torque converter that, according to Cole, frees up when torque multiplication is not needed (when tramming, for instance). This improved drivetrain efficiency and leads to less fuel consumption, which, when combined with a fuel tank that has 6% extra capacity over its predecessor, means the dozer runs for longer.

In terms of the undercarriage, customers can select from not one, but three factory-fitted link assembly options.

The Cat Heavy Duty Extended Life (HDXL) Undercarriage System with DuraLink™ is field proven to deliver 20-40% longer wear life in moderate- to high-impact applications such as hard rock, landfill and forestry, according to Cat. The Heavy Duty (HD) and General Duty links provide further options for less abrasive conditions.

The new dozer features the Cat C18 engine, which has a range of exhaust after-treatment solutions available that brings it in-line with US EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage V regulations, and configurations equivalent to US EPA Tier 2 and Tier 3.

With remote control operation also in the works for the new dozer, according to Cole, expect to see even more D9s running around mine sites in the next few years.