240 jobs to go as Caterpillar closes another manufacturing facility

240 people will lose their jobs in mid-2014 as mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar continues to respond to slowing demand from the resources sector.

The losses will come from the company’s Pulaski facility in the US state of Virginia when the doors close early next year.

In announcing the closure, Caterpillar said some production will be shifted to its Houston plant in Pennsylvania.

“…these actions are needed to make our underground mining business more efficient and competitive, which will be achieved by consolidating production at our Houston, Pennsylvania, plant,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier this year Caterpillar cut its 2013 profit forecast after a 43.5 per cent drop in the company’s second-quarter earnings.

"There's no question there's a slowdown. But long-term … mining is a great place to be," Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar's chairman and chief executive, told CNBC at the time.

Closer to home, Caterpillar cut 200 jobs from its Burnie plant in Tasmania’s north-west.

The company said in a statement that the decision came after an extensive review of its Burnie operations which led it to the conclusion that move was necessary to ensure it remained competitive.

"This shift in production will allow us to streamline the Burnie manufacturing footprint and focus on the production of underground mining machine models that are largely used within the Australian market,'' Burnie facility manager Dan Barich said.

These aren't the first job losses from the Burnie facility. In February 100 jobs were cut from the plant and in September another 70 casual workers lost their jobs.

Weaker metals demand in China and elsewhere has caused large miners such as Rio Tinto to cut back capital spending. In turn, this caused Caterpillar to identify mining equipment demand as a weak point.

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