Caterpillar to explore options on room and pillar products

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Cat Mining Refocus gallery Caterpillar says its exploring 'strategic alternatives' for its range of room and pillar mining products

Caterpillar has announced it’s looking at ‘strategic alternatives’, including a possible divestiture, for its range of room and pillar mining products and will also cease production of track drills.

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Cat says it remains committed to existing customers and will continue to support room and pillar and track drill fleets already in operation.

"These moves, which align with Caterpillar’s ongoing restructuring, will allow us to focus resources on those areas of the business that provide the highest, sustainable growth and best long-term returns," Caterpillar group president Denise Johnson says.

The specific room and pillar products under review include continuous miners, feeder breakers, coal haulage systems, highwall miners, roof bolters, utility vehicles and diesel vehicles. While these reviews are undertaken Cat says it won’t take new orders on these products. Track drill production will cease immediately, and no new orders will be taken.

Caterpillar says the move should not be taken as an indication it is moving away from mining altogether.

"Caterpillar remains committed to an extensive mining product portfolio," Johnson says.

"We firmly believe mining is an attractive long-term industry, and we continue to invest in a broad range of products, both surface and underground. We are targeting our investments within the mining product portfolio to concentrate on those areas with the highest profitability potential."

"At the same time, we continue to manage through the longest down-cycle in our history. We know these ongoing restructuring actions are not easy on our workforce; I’m grateful for our team’s ongoing dedication."

Caterpillar expects the moves to result in the loss of up to 155 jobs at its Pennsylvania room and pillar product manufacturing facility and approximately 40 jobs at its track drill production facility in Texas.

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