Caterpillar suspends Aurora mining shovel plan

By Alejandra Cancino
Posted Jan. 6 at 4:13 p.m.

Caterpillar Inc. suspended a plan to build mining shovels at its Aurora facility, which would have created 300 jobs through 2014.

The change of plans is due to the company’s acquisition of South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International, a maker of shovels, walking draglines, drills and other mining equipment. The $7.6 billion deal, which was announced in November, is expected to close in mid-2011.

The company said in a statement that it suspended the all development and capital investment for mining shovels in Aurora “to conserve resources and eliminate business risks associated with internal development.”

In June, Caterpillar said it had plans to spend $700 million in the next four years to start producing a mining shovel and expand production of trucks at plants in Illinois and India. That plan would have created about 200 assembly worker jobs and 100 support and management jobs in Aurora, according Zacks Investment Research.

The Aurora facility, which has about 1,400 employees, will continue to focus on wheel loader production and building excavators, the company said.

Mark Patton, president of United Auto Workers Union Local 145, which represents workers at the Aurora plant, said it is too early to tell how the new plan will affect workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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