Caterpillar inks deal to replace haul truck fleet at Chilean mine

The new fleet will include the Caterpillar 798 AC electric drive trucks and are expected to accelerate autonomy

Caterpillar and its dealer Finning International have signed a deal to replace BHP’s entire haul truck fleet at the Escondida mine in northern Chile. This agreement is said to be part of a strategic equipment renewal process developed by Escondida which is the world’s largest copper producer.

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 one of the largest fleets in the industry, currently consisting of over 160 haul trucks.

Maintenance and support services provided under the agreement advance BHP’s local employment and gender balance strategies, while Finning’s Integrated Knowledge Centre, located in Antofagasta, will provide industry technical support for the fleet.

In August 2022, Magna Tyres said it had plans to introduce new tread patterns for mining equipment at Bauma 2022.

The agreement also allows Escondida and BHP to accelerate the implementation of its autonomy plans by transitioning the fleet to include technology that enables autonomous operation. Included in the fleet will be the new Caterpillar 798 AC electric drive trucks.

“This agreement is an important step to continue projecting into the future Escondida | 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, decarbonisation, and development of capabilities in Antofagasta´s community,” he concluded.

In June 2022, Komatsu said it was expanding autonomous technology on haul trucks by 2024, and in July, Metso Outotec said it would deliver the world’s largest Premier grinding mills to a Zambian copper mine.


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