Prior to the start of MINExpo International 2016, Caterpillar hosted a press briefing to talk about the state of the mining industry and Caterpillar’s role in it, and while she acknowledged the current struggles of the industry, Denise Johnson, Caterpillar group president, resources industries also reaffirmed her company’s commitment to mining.
“We believe in mining,” Johnson said. “As a company, Caterpillar is positioned well to serve our customers. We are committed to our customers and to the mining industry for the long-term.”
As the world’s largest supplier of mining equipment, Caterpillar has felt the pain from the global downturn in the mining industry. Its sales are down about 60 percent since 2012 as mining companies are not buying as much new equipment and are pushing existing equipment as far as possible to get as much productivity out of each machine.
In turn, Caterpillar has adjusted its business model. Some of that has been in the form of restructuring some divisions and some has come in the form of investment in research and development for technology and for people to position itself well for the eventual uptick in the industry.
“There are some optimistic signs that we are at the bottom of the cycle now, but we have not seen that result in sales as of yet,” Johnson said.
It’s still too early to say the industry is at turning point, but Johnson said discussions with customers around the world have indicated that there is a brighter future for the industry and Caterpillar intends to be ready for the next upswing.
Evidence of Caterpillar’s commitment and the results of many of its research and development projects will be visible on the exhibit floor in the Las Vegas Convention Center where Caterpillar will once again have the largest display at MINExpo 2016. Caterpillar will show off some of its largest mining equipment including the 794AC haul truck, 6020 B hydraulic shovel, 777 G haul truck and 994 wheel loader as well as the technology that will drive the company forward in the future. Caterpillar will also show its commitment to underground mining with the introduction of the new Rock Straight system. Rock Straight is a long wall mining application designed for hard rock mines such as copper, gold, chrome and platinum. It has a revolutionary undercutting technology that has been applied for two years at a mine in South Africa.
MINExpo 2016 runs from Monday through Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.