Modern Mining: Featured News

For the past 67 years Foskor’s Mining Division has mined phosphate rock (foskorite and pyroxenite) at its opencast mine in Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province. The ore is processed into phosphate rock concentrate on site and then railed to Foskor’s Acid Division in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, where it is used to produce phosphoric acid and phosphate-based granular fertilisers for local and international markets.

A drilling and blasting operation extracts ore deposits from the igneous complex, with hydraulic shovels and front-end loaders used to load the ore onto Foskor’s fleet of 180-tonne trucks for transporting to the crushers. This is where Barloworld Equipment, the Southern African dealer for Caterpillar earthmoving equipment, has recently taken up a new role.

Cat 789D trucks under the spotlight

The new fleet of 190-tonne Cat 789D off -highway trucks ready for duty at Foskor’s opencast phosphate mine in Phalaborwa. 

Foskor awarded Barloworld Equipment the tender for four Cat® 789D off-highway trucks in November 2016. The 190-tonne trucks were assembled close to the mine by the Barloworld Equipment Polokwane field service team. The first two trucks were delivered in July 2017 and the final two on 29 August 2017.

First in 30 years

The new trucks are maintained by Foskor, assisted by the Barloworld Equipment field service team in Phalaborwa.

Cat trucks are an unusual sight at the mine, even more so once they have been rebranded to Foskor green. Barloworld Equipment Limpopo Sales Manager Bradley Page says these are the first Cat off-highway trucks to haul ore on the site in 30 years.

Foskor was looking for a partner with a sound reputation in the mining industry and the Cat 789D matched the mine’s production targets.

Caterpillar entered the off-highway truck market in 1963 and its 100 per cent in-house designed mining trucks became the market leader due to their reputation for quality, long life and unmatched support.

Caterpillar built its 50 000th mining truck in 2009. Cat large mining trucks today move more than half of the material – rock and ore, coal and oil sands – at mines around the world.

Lowest cost per tonne

The Cat 789 model was first launched back in 1986 and the D series appeared, with several refinements, in 2011. The longevity of this model testifies to its productivity, durability and suitable payload on multiple sites, coupled with lowest in class cost per tonne.

“Safety is the top priority for our mining customers,” says Page. The 789D has several key safety features:

Integrated object detection system using both radar and cameras to give the operator audible and visual alerts of detected objects;

  • Walkway toe guards;

  • Diagonal machine access stairways (available in reverse direction);

  • An optional powered ground-level stairway;

  • Improved operator visibility and work area lighting;

  • Optional truck body tail lights;

  • Improved secondary egress via a hinged gate on the platform;

  • Optional rear access walkway to access to rear of cab (available on deluxe cabs);

  • Conveniently located isolation and lockout systems;

  • Easy to access daily service points, mostly at ground level, with tie-off points provided for work above ground level.


The mechanical drive train is powered by the Cat 3516C EUI quad turbocharged diesel engine delivering 1 566 kW gross power, about 10 % more than the previous model, for increased speed on grade.

To enable mining customers to optimise their trucks for specific applications, the 789D comes with a choice of four bodies – Dual Slope, X, MSD II and Gateless Coal – and can accommodate larger tyres – 40.00-R57 and 42/90R57 as opposed to the standard 37.00-R57. Larger tyres have longer lives and reduce the cost per unit of material hauled in some applications.

The 789D retains the proven Cat oil-cooled braking system, which combines the service, secondary, parking brake and retarding functions in the same robust system for optimum braking efficiency. Four-corner retarding with 60/40 per cent split (rear/front) in braking effort provides superior control in slippery conditions. Balanced front to rear brake torque provides exceptional braking performance and minimises wheel lock-up, especially during retarding.

Caterpillar has packaged popular attachments into arrangements for the 789D so that customers can custom-equip their cabs. All are ergonomically designed to provide operator comfort and efficiency.

The truck design enhances sight lines to the haul road and operating area and the air tank has been moved off the deck to improve sight lines to the right of the operator. The 789D is also available in an XQ configuration for reduced noise output.

An optional fast fill service centre enables high speed fuelling and oil exchange, and optional quick-change rims are available to simplify tyre replacement. 

Site survey

A number of changes were made in the 789D to extend reliability and durability. A new pump drive system provides continuous rear axle filtration. Benefits include cleaner oil, less downtime and improved component life.

Extended life disc brakes are standard and may achieve up to double the wear life of the previously used brake material. The brakes are resistant to glazing and deliver consistent braking power and reduced maintenance. New air intake and filters have a new seal, which provides easier servicing and lower maintenance costs.

“Foskor is of major importance to Barloworld Equipment as a customer and we now have a great opportunity to put the Cat 789D to the test against the leading competitive machines,” says Page.

“To add value to Foskor as a new customer, we are undertaking a site survey by a team of specialists from our Product and Application Group. This team assists the mine by observing current practices and making recommendations based on global best practices to assist the customer’s fleet in achieving lowest cost per tonne. The Product and Application Group has strong expertise in large mining trucks, mining shovels, drills and support equipment.”

Contact Modern Mining

Title: Editor
Name: Arthur Tassell
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Bennie Venter
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108