The 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck features an all-aluminum cargo box that was able to withstand harsh usage at a western U.S. mine during prototype testing.
The 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck features an all-aluminum cargo box that was able to withstand harsh usage at a western U.S. mine during prototype testing.

In another Barrick-related technology development, Ford Motor Co. reported in early February that Barrick Gold USA, one of three Ford customers chosen to blind-test prototype F-150 pickups with aluminum-alloy cargo boxes, has placed an initial order for 35 all-new 2015 F-150 trucks.

Ford said testing at Barrick operations helped improve their all-new, aluminum-alloy-bodied F-150. Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, operates six mines in the western United States.

From 2013 to 2014, Barrick’s mining survey team drove two prototype F-150s with experimental aluminum-alloy cargo boxes through severe terrain at the company’s Bald Mountain and Cortez mines in Nevada. More than 100,000 miles were accumulated on the two test vehicles, which were subjected to harsh treatment daily; workers would literally throw heavy pieces of equipment into the cargo bed, including large pumps, motors and specialty tools.

F-150s are used in all of Barrick’s U.S. gold mining operations, from initial exploration and mine support functions to land reclamation. Typical equipment the trucks haul includes compressors, pintle hitches and a variety of heavy-duty tools. Now, Barrick is ready to replace its entire fleet of hundreds of 2012 F-150s—many of which have more than 100,000 miles on them.

“The F-150s see tough duty from operations supervisors, exploration field technicians, project managers, maintenance technicians and closure personnel,” said Rebecca Caudill, Barrick Gold USA fleet manager. “Many of the trucks go into extremely rugged conditions during the planning and mapping out of new projects, core drilling and daily mining operations. Our trucks will see 30,000 to 35,000 miles per year, accumulating well over 100,000 miles in the 40- to 45-month lease rotation.”

Barrick ordered F-150 SuperCab 4x4 models with 3.5-liter V6 or 5-liter V8 engines.

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