Cat sponsors SD mining school initiatives
Collaborates with South Dakota Mines to develop mining tech Metal Tech News – Nov. 4, 2020
Last updated 11/3/2020 at 3:54pm
Caterpillar Inc. is sponsoring a partnership with South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to explore new technologies aimed at promoting a new paradigm of environmentally sound mining.
Easily a household name, CAT has opted to invest in the historic South Dakota Mines to explore leading technologies such as autonomous robotic mining, cutting edge software used in management of mining and construction operations, and new equipment that can increase efficiency and safety.
The Rapid City-based mining university will play a leading role in CAT Labs MineStar Consortium, which partners university faculty and students with Caterpillar engineers and researchers in building the next generation of mining and construction technology.
Located in America's Midwest, South Dakota School of Mines is well-situated to become a hub for fostering mining technologies.
The school has a long history in development and advancement of mining, and according to officials, this partnership is intended to improve a range of projects from research and advancement in surface mining and reclamation in places like the Powder River Basin to the development of an underground area to test robotic mining equipment at the Sanford Underground Research Facility.
"This agreement is great news for the university and for the economy," says South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin. "The South Dakota mining industry employs more than 2,000 people who produce more than $500 million in products annually. This partnership builds on those past successes and will yield new business opportunities and fantastic return on investment for the whole region."
The partnership also benefits South Dakota Mines' effort to add new buildings that will expand the university's mining technology offerings.
These buildings would be added to their campus master plan, which includes three departments – geology and geological engineering, mining engineering and management, and materials and metallurgical engineering.
South Dakota Mines is one of only five universities in the U.S. to have all three of these mining related engineering departments on its grounds.
The hope of this partnership is to create or improve new technologies focused on sustainability of Earth's natural resources while improving productivity and promoting economic development.
With its already impressive lineup of leading automation, Caterpillar will continue to improve its heavy machinery portfolio.
Now, with the research and development paired with this consortium and the availability of test mines, the future should see new advancements to the familiar "highway yellow" equipment.
With such reputable names behind new efforts to explore and improve industrial technology, it will be exciting to see what the consortium will develop, eyes and ears will be on this partnership for many years to come.