Byerwen Mine west of Collinsville may be well known to locals but the heavy machinery world will be scrambling for Google maps after a milestone delivery of a Caterpillar machine to the mine yesterday.

Together with Macmahon, the Q Coal mine is now home to the 5000th Cat 793 mining truck, 27 years after the first vehicle was produced. 

Hastings Deering Managing Director Dean Mehmet was on-site for the presentation and commissioning and said the milestone was unique because Caterpillar data showed production figures for the truck far exceeded the manufacture of any other brand of 250-ton (227-tonne) size class truck. 

“The success of the 793 supports our belief that it is the most productive and cost-effective mining truck in a wide range of applications,” he said.

In production since 1991, the 5000th 793 truck assembled by Cat represents the fifth generation of the vehicle.

“The 793 are the core of Cat surface mining vehicles. It has been an integral part of making Caterpillar the leading supplier of surface mining equipment,” Mr Mehmet said.

“And yes the very first 793 truck, placed in service 27 years ago, is still in service having accumulated 173,000 operating hours—nearly 20 years equivalent— as it works in a mine in the United States.”

The largest populations of 793’s are operating in Australia, North America and South America where the trucks work to mine iron ore, copper, coal, gold and other minerals. The most recent generation, the 793F, has been the truck of choice for autonomous operation. 

More than 100 793F trucks now operate via Command for hauling, Cat’s autonomous truck operations system, as interest in autonomous haulage continues to grow. Cat autonomous trucks have delivered productivity increases of more than 20 percent while improving safety and reducing costs. Cat autonomous trucks have hauled more than 800 million tons (700 million tonnes) since the first such trucks started working about four years ago.

“We have seen so many changes with mining machinery over the decades: not just function and look, but huge advances in technology. As technology changes it is important not only for manufacturers to embrace it but interpret and adapt that technology to work across all industries,” Mr Mehmet said.

“While today’s celebration is about mining vehicles, Cat has made tremendous advances in machinery and engines across industries from building and construction to civil even marine.”

Image: The 5000th Cat 793, supplied by Hastings Deering.