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Trucking Group to Replace Entire Haul Truck Fleet at Chile Mine

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August 30, 2022

Caterpillar Inc., BHP Group Limited and Finning International have announced an agreement to replace BHP’s entire haul truck fleet at the Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper producer, located in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile.

The agreement is part of a strategic renewal process developed by Escondida, the companies said. The new Caterpillar 798 AC electric drive trucks will include technology that delivers improvement in material-moving capacity, efficiency, reliability and safety. In addition, the systems support future initiatives, including decarbonization, autonomous technologies, and the development of local capabilities.

The first trucks are expected to arrive at the mine in the second half of 2023, with delivery of the remaining trucks to extend over the next 10 years as the three companies work to replace more than 160 haul trucks. Maintenance and support services provided under the agreement will advance BHP’s local employment and gender-balance strategies, the company added. 

The agreement allows Escondida and BHP to accelerate the implementation of its autonomy plans by transitioning the fleet to include technology that enables autonomous operation. The three companies also said they will uphold a commitment to contribute to the economic and social development of Antofagasta, through the generation of local capabilities related to the development of mining equipment technologies.

“This agreement is an important step to continue projecting into the future Escondida and BHP’s leadership in the industry,” said James Whittaker, president of Escondida & BHP. “It will allow us to generate significant efficiencies at the operational level, but it is also in line with some of the main challenges that drive us as a company: innovation for the future of mining, decarbonization, and development of capabilities in Antofagasta’s community. We have great expectations regarding the benefits that will be generated in the short and long term for both the company and the Antofagasta region.”

“The Caterpillar team is excited to support the successful deployment of machines and technology that will facilitate a step-function improvement in BHP’s operational excellence,” said Denise Johnson, group president of resource industries at Caterpillar. “We applaud BHP as this mine site transformation accelerates the delivery of their aggressive sustainability targets.”

For more details on Caterpillar and its 798 AC trucks, visit its website here.


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