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Cat funds plan to advance mining tech at South Dakota Mines

Caterpillar said in late 2020 that it was backing a new partnership it had made with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to advance mining technology, including autonomous robotic mining, cutting-edge software and new equipment to boost safety and efficiency.

South Dakota Mines, Cat said, will help lead Cat Labs MineStar Consortium, a pairing that will bring together university faculty and students with Caterpillar engineers and researchers to build the next-gen mining and construction technology.

“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,” said the two partners.

“Cat Labs MineStar Consortium is conceived to include other institutions, such as Western Dakota Tech … [and] South Dakota Mines will work closely with all organizations in the consortium.”

According to South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin, the state’s mining industry employs more than 2,000 people, who in turn produce more than $500 million in products each year.