Classic Mining Machines: 797 and D11

(7 votes)

Mining equipment has come a long way since the humble days of the gold pan, hand-operated compressed air coal cutters and horse-drawn coal carts. The explosion of mining in the modern age has lead to an equal explosion in the development and manufacture of mechanical mining equipment, created to address the challenges associated with mining in the modern age.

Caterpillar are one of today's most recognisable brands within the mining and construction industry, though they didn't start life off as a mining manufacturer initially. The first 'Caterpillar' machines, developed in the early 1900's were actually improvements of the then very inefficient agricultural tractors which would be constantly bogged down in the damp earth. By replacing the rear wheels with a set of tracks, the modern tractor as we know it was born. The next milestone that propelled CAT into manufacturing superstardom was the appropriation and refinement of the diesel engine in the 1930's for common commercial use in their machinery.

Over the next 30 - 40 years, as the global mining sector boomed, CAT were in prime position to take advantage of this exponential growth, entering the Australian market in 1955. In 1963 they developed their first off-highway mining truck, the Caterpillar 769. Let’s now take a look at two of CAT’s most enduring pieces of mining machinery.

The 797 Off Highway Haul Truck


Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous pieces of machinery in use in the mining industry is the haul truck, and perhaps the most common among  these is the classic Caterpillar 797, the successor of the popular Caterpillar 785, which was their first off-highway commercial mining production machine, released in 1984. The 785 is still produced and in demand today.

The original Cat 797 was first released in 1998 and was the first off-highway hauler truck to be designed using CAD technology. It had a 327-tonne payload capacity and was built to meet demand from commercial mining operations seeking to reduce operating costs by increasing payloads.

Today, CAT have developed over 50,000 off-highway trucks, with over 10,000 of those being large mining haul trucks. The current haul truck model, the 797F is capable of hauling over 360 metric tonne payloads with a diesel engine capable of generating close to 3 MegaWatts. 

The D11 Bulldozer


The primary purpose for the Caterpillar D11 is for use in the mining industry, designed as a bulldozer, but is also used for scraping and ripping rock.

The modern D11T boasts a 634kW, V8 diesel engine, an intelligent ‘OK-to-Start’ system that electronically monitors onboard critical fluid levels and is capable of pushing over 40 metres of Earth.

The primary use of the D11s is for transport of dirt & rock material over short distances, often being used in quarries. They provide a cost effective solution for dozing and an alternative for blasting in high capacity coal and metal mines.

Have you operated one of these? Got a good story to tell? Let us know:


Written By:



o BHP A$36.96 ▼0.25 (-0.67%)
o Rio Tinto A$65.32 ▼0.68 (-1.03%)
o Fortescue A$5.40 ▼0.05 (-0.83%)
o Newcrest A$8.49 ▼0.09 (-1.05%)


Company ID [ASX:BHP] Last trade:A$36.96 Trade time:12:57PM GMT+11 Value change:▼0.25 (-0.67%)

Rio Tinto

Company ID [ASX:RIO] Last trade:A$65.32 Trade time:12:57PM GMT+11 Value change:▼0.68 (-1.03%)


Company ID [ASX:FMG] Last trade:A$5.40 Trade time:12:57PM GMT+11 Value change:▼0.05 (-0.83%)


Company ID [ASX:NCM] Last trade:A$8.49 Trade time:12:57PM GMT+11 Value change:▼0.09 (-1.05%)


Minetalk Poll

Is the mining boom in Australia over?

Is the mining boom in Australia over?

No, it's just media hype.
Yes as a result of lower demand.
Still plenty of resources.
There will be a second boom.
1 Votes left

HomeNewsHave Your SayVideosPhotosDirectoryForumHelpLegalPrivacy PolicyContact Us |  © 2013 SM Media