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Caterpillar and Rio Tinto Reach Agreement for Global Supply of Mining Technology Products

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Caterpillar Inc. and Rio Tinto recently reached a three-year agreement for the Cat® CAES and Aquila Drill and Dragline systems to be the preferred standard at the mining company’s open pit operations worldwide. The agreement covers nine Rio Tinto business units operating more than 30 mines in Australia, the United States, Canada and Namibia. The Caterpillar® high-precision GPS mining technology products provide machine guidance and operator assistance as well as data collection of multiple production parameters.
“We are pleased to be working so closely with Rio Tinto, a leader and innovator in applying technology,” said Chris Curfman, president of the Caterpillar Global Mining Division. “As the market leader in high precision GPS-based technology systems for the mining industry, we look forward to collaborating with Rio Tinto to further enhance our technology products.”
Rio Tinto is expected to order more than 200 Caterpillar high precision systems over the life of the agreement. In addition, the agreement includes a multi-year support contract. Caterpillar dealers responsible for selling and supporting the products are WesTrac and Hastings Deering in Australia; Hewitt Equipment in Canada; Quinn Company, Wyoming Machinery, Wheeler Machinery, Tractor & Equipment and Wagner Equipment in the United States; and Barloworld Equipment in southern Africa.
The three high precision systems offered by Caterpillar have been proven in mines around the world and continue to evolve to meet the needs of mining operations. For example, both the CAES and Aquila Dragline systems now provide peer-to-peer communications. This allows an operator to view the position of each CAES-equipped machine within the work zone by looking at the display in the cab.
CAES is operating on hundreds of mining machines where it improves efficiency and productivity─often more than 25 percent in dozer operations. For truck loading operations, CAES displays a digital map of the ore body and material types to the loading machine operator for precise digging and loading.
The popular Aquila Drill Manager improves blasthole drill efficiency as it guides the operator to precisely place holes and to use optimum drilling forces. Features include automatic adjustment for variations in collar elevations to ensure level benches as well as monitoring and reporting of six key drill parameters in real time. A sophisticated strata recognition module is available to determine variations in rock mass characteristics.
The Aquila Dragline System is a comprehensive production monitoring system that tracks every bucket load. Features include 3D real-time bucket positioning and monitoring and reporting of 10 production parameters, including average swing time, total load weight and average cycle time.
Photo caption: Aquila dragline display in cab

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