A pair of Komatsu 980-5 mining trucks operating in the Athabasca oil sands will serve as an ongoing reminder of the importance of Truth and Reconciliation.
In September, SMS Equipment, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Suncor unveiled two Komatsu 980-5 mining trucks, featuring artwork by a local First Nations artist. The trucks will join a Komatsu fleet in the field at Suncor’s Base Plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The 980-5 mining trucks feature a gross vehicle weight of 627,999 kg, a 3,500 hp Tier 4 Final Cummins engine and a 363-tonne payload.
“The trucks serve as an ongoing reminder to employees and partners in the mining community of the importance of Truth and Reconciliation in our daily lives,” said Kelly-Ann Cordner, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer at SMS Equipment.
“While Canadians recognize a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in September, the commitment we need to take as individuals and as companies is long-term. Building awareness and encouraging conversations is one small way we can keep this important topic in the spotlight.”
The trucks’ artwork follows a theme of Every Child Matters, which honours those directly and indirectly affected by the legacy of Canada’s residential schools. One mural features Indigenous youth, in reference to innocent lives lost and those who survived. The second mural includes youth and an adult, in reference to the intergenerational impact of residential schools.
“Truth and Reconciliation means acknowledging the painful past, healing the wounds, restoring our cultural heritage, seeking justice, and building a more inclusive and equitable future for all Indigenous peoples. It is a transformative journey towards reconciliation, understanding and empowerment,” said Councillor Samantha Whalen, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation.
The Every Child Matters themed trucks are not the first time SMS Equipment has incorporated an awareness campaign into its machines.
SMS Equipment’s 63 North branch previously partnered with one of its mining customers to raise awareness of breast cancer and prostate cancer with pink and blue painted dump truck bodies.
“The response was resoundingly positive. When a new shipment of Komatsu 980-5s was due to arrive at the same shop, the team was inspired to use the powerful equipment to make a powerful statement,” Cordner said.
“We partnered with the Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Suncor to devise a plan that went beyond orange paint and included the Every Child Matters messaging and artwork designed by a local First Nations artist. We all agreed the message needed to be clear and impactful.”
SMS Equipment has identified the opportunity to continuously improve and begin taking steps to spread greater awareness to its employees and customers. As well, SMS Equipment contributes to economic sustainability of Indigenous communities within its region.
“There is a lot of work still to do and we are excited for the path ahead,” Cordner said.