Caterpillar, School of Mines partner on mining and construction technology

Caterpillar Inc., Deerfield, Illinois, says it is partnering with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to build the next generation of mining and construction technology, reports the Associated Press.

University faculty and students will work with Caterpillar engineers on autonomous robotic mining, new software used to manage mining and construction operations, and on new equipment that increases efficiency and safety.

“This agreement is great news for the university and for the economy,” South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin said. “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 a fantastic return on investment for the whole region.”

Officials say the partnership could involve a range of projects from research and development 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, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The university’s partnership with Caterpillar comes as efforts are underway to add a new building on campus for three departments: geology and geological engineering, mining engineering and management, and materials and metallurgical engineering.