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Caterpillar increase commitment to mining customers

CATERPILLAR Inc. have announced a series of investments worth nearly $700 million that, over the next four years, are expected to significantly enhance the company’s position as the leading manufacturer of products and solutions for the global mining industry.

The company will produce a full range of mining shovels, ranging from a 125-ton model through to an 800-ton model, and has selected its manufacturing facility in Aurora, Illinois, for initial production of the new product range.

In early 2011, Caterpillar will begin pilot production of the new 125-ton class shovel, with  the first commercial shovels produced in Aurora expected to be available later in 2011.

The larger shovels are planned for commercial availability beginning in 2013 and 2014.

Caterpillar say this range of shovels will give customers a direct match for loading the company’s mining trucks, ranging from the 100-ton class 777F through to the 400-ton class 797F.

‘As we discuss solutions with our global mining customers, it’s clear they want a complete line of Caterpillar shovels to best match the full range of Caterpillar trucks operating at their mines,’ said Chris Curfman, president of Caterpillar Global Mining.

The company is also accelerating previously announced capacity expansion plans for
trucks in Decatur, Illinois, with almost 30% additional capacity expected to come on line during 2011.

Decatur produces Caterpillar’s largest mining trucks, including the flagship 797F series truck, which has a maximum payload capacity of 400 tons.

In addition, Caterpillar say they plan to more than double their capacity for 60- and 100-ton truck production at their existing manufacturing facility near Chennai, India. This should be completed by early 2012.

‘The increased production in India and Decatur will better position the company to serve
our mining customers in every region of the world, with a particular focus on the growing
demand and customer base in the emerging markets of Asia and in Russia,’ commented Chris Curfman.

Caterpillar are also updating the status of their new electric-drive mining trucks. The
company currently has pilot units of the 345-ton 795F AC truck at customer sites for final
evaluation, with commercial production set to begin later this year.

Initial interest in the new trucks has been strong, and the company has increased its planned build rate for 2011 by more than 40% to meet demand from the major mining markets around the world.

In early 2012, the company also plans to produce pilot units of the240-tone payload 793F AC truck. Caterpillar say both electric-drive trucks will complement their full range of mechanical-drive trucks.

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