Mining industry shows signs of life, sales still remain weak: Caterpillar

Caterpillar has detected signs of improvement in the mining industry, however sales are yet to follow suit.

Within the past few months, the company has been increasingly approached over possible deals, signalling optimism in the sector. However difficult conditions are still ahead, with the company recently slashing their sales and profits forecasts, potentially closing its manufacturing site in Belgium, and looking to reduce its overall workforce by up to 10,000 by 2018.

Additionally, the company aims to discontinue the manufacture of room and pillar equipment, but Cat group president, resource industries, Denise Johnson, said this may not be completely abandoned if they find a buyer for the business, states.

Most of the company’s sales come from the coal industry, followed by the copper, iron ore, and gold respectively. Over the next year, they plant to find new opportunities in the precious metals sector, particularly in gold.

Cat expects a growing demand for mining equipment next year, with further investment in improving the current machine’s performance.

Johnson added that success of Cat representatives is not measured on the number of equipment sold, but rather “by the performing metrics of the mine itself”.

“Their success is measured in terms of their customers’ achievements and that is how they are rewarded,” she said.

The company is currently focused on going digital – allocating the majority of its research and development budget to it, with the aim of reducing the amount of mining equipment required on site. This, in turn, is hoped to still increase sales particularly of technology that will enhance the efficiency of operations.

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