In announcing the order at a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, Komatsu vice president mining division, Rod Schrader said the new machines would join the existing fleet of 22 830Es at Yakutugol's Nerungrinskiy opencut mine in the Republic of Sakha and extend a 20-year relationship between the two companies.
The trucks form part of an aggressive plan to expand coal production at Nerungrinskiy and take advantage of strong global demand for the commodity. About 50% of the mine's output is exported to Asian markets, while the balance is consumed by domestic customers.
Schrader said Komatsu would begin delivering the Yakutugol machines in the first quarter of next year. They added to an already bursting order book. "Our production capacity is sold out right through to March 2005 and we're already placing orders in April and May," he said.
The truck order follows the contract signed with Rio Tinto earlier this week naming Komatsu as a preferred supplier of haul trucks and other equipment for its worldwide mining operations for the next five years. Rio Tinto said it expected to spend more than $US1 billion on heavy equipment from Komatsu and other suppliers during the contract period.
Under the contract, Komatsu has become the preferred supplier of haul trucks for all of Rio Tinto's worldwide mining operations. The terms of the contract are said to be based on lifecycle costs and an ongoing strategy that promotes a collaborative approach to optimising equipment design and deployment.
Komatsu said the alliance would redefine the way mining companies and suppliers worked together to optimise asset management in a cyclical industry.
Equipment, including excavators and dozers, will be produced at plants in Japan, Germany and North America.
In May, Komatsu was awarded a five-year supply agreement with BHP Billiton for earthmoving and mining equipment. BHPB has another deal with Caterpillar worth $US1.5 billion to supply most of its mining equipment needs.