With West Virginia University and the West Virginia Development Office, Petitto had been examining export opportunities in China and sold the Petitto Mule diesel longwall shield remover, designed to make for safer and more efficient work, to the Shanxi province operator.
The transaction was made late last week and according to the WVDO, was believed to be the first successful deal to be made under a 2010 memorandum of understanding between the state and the coal-rich Chinese province.
Petitto first participated in the West Virginia Pavilion in 2008, an event which was sponsored by the WVDO export program and convened at the China (Taiyuan) Coal and Energy New Industry expo in Shanxi province.
WVU US-China Energy Center associate director, extension service associate professor and Governor's assistant for China affairs Qingyun Sun made the introduction between the OEM and China’s Datong group, which were exhibiting at the same gathering.
The two companies continued to develop their relationship over the following three years and Petitto took park in the West Virginia Pavilion at the China Coal and Mining expo in Beijing.
It went on to visit the operator independently.
While Petitto did not respond to an ILN request for comment on the deal, Sun said the agreement might result in more sales for the company as well as additional West Virginia jobs.
“It may become a highlight of the types of collaboration in mine safety initiated by the signing of the memorandum of understanding,” the official said.
“We are happy to support our private sector partners in developing these opportunities.”
State governor Earl Ray Tomblin added: "With $9 billion in exports, 2011 was a record year for West Virginia [and] now 2012 is off to a strong start, thanks to the efforts of Petitto Mine Equipment and similar small and medium sized businesses throughout our state.
“I commend Petitto for its success in expanding its market.”
China is West Virginia's eighth-largest export market, growing 16% last year.
West Virginia’s total China exports totaled more than $US400 million in 2011.
Petitto Mine Equipment was formed in 1969 by Angelo Petitto as a repair facility and began manufacturing equipment in 1978.
The Petitto Mule evolved from a 10-ton prototype to a 55-ton machine and was currently the industry’s largest available unit.