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ISSUE 5: Focusing on sustainability at MINExpo 2008: Caterpillar hosts global Health, Safety, Environment and Community Forum

MINExpo 2008 was an opportunity for the leaders of the mining industry and their customers to discuss their priorities, and the message was clear — health, safety, environment and community are at the top of the industry’s list. A number of the show’s educational sessions were dedicated to topics like waste management and air quality, as well as improving safety and reducing community impact. Mining companies also shared stories of their success in these areas so others could learn.

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ISSUE 4: The reclamation of Sudbury: The greening of a moonscape

The Sudbury area of Ontario, Canada has been producing ore for more than 100 years, and is also a regular tourist destination with dozens of scenic attractions and lakes. But in the 1970s, the now-beautiful landscape was regularly compared to the surface of the moon. Partnering with the Sudbury community and the Canadian government, mining companies Vale Inco and Xstrata have invested heavily in returning this once-desolate area to its former beauty.

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ISSUE 3: Miners speak with one voice on equipment safety

Safety is priority number one for everyone in the mining industry, from machine operators to company executives. In 2006, eight of the largest companies in the industry banded together to form the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table. EMESRT is a unique partnership aimed at sharing resources and best practices while encouraging manufacturers to improve Human Factors of design — all with the intent of making mines safer.

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ISSUE 2: Finding technology solutions to combat operator fatigue

When a mine is operating around the clock, operator fatigue is one of the biggest concerns to manage. Fatigued operators are more likely to be in accidents, and studies have shown that drowsiness is equivalent to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But both mining companies and manufacturers are working to combat fatigue with solutions like more ergonomic cabs, diet and scheduling advice, and in-cab monitoring technology.

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ISSUE 1: Alternative fuels: Using biodiesel in off-highway engines

One of the mining industry’s biggest ongoing initiatives is to reduce carbon emissions and lessen the negative impact mining has on our environment. Since mining trucks burn millions of gallons of fuel every year, an alternative fuel source can greatly reduce total emissions. Research into the use of biodiesel is ongoing, with studies reporting negligible losses of power and significant emissions reductions when using plant-based sustainable fuels in off-highway trucks.

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