Oilsands firms invest in simulator

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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – In an effort to provide a safer working environment for truckers working the oilfields, three main oilsands giants have purchased a $350,000 truck simulator.

Albian Sands Energy, Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada have split on a Caterpillar 797 haul truck simulator that will allow drivers to hone their skills before getting behind the wheel of the real thing.

The simulator is being housed at Keyano College’s MacKenzie industrial campus, and is already earning rave reviews.

A recent graduate of the program, Terril Blakley, tells local media “It was beneficial. It gave me a better idea when I got out there. I wasn’t as nervous because I had a feel of what it was going to be like.”

Keyano president, Doug MacRae, says “It’s really important for the college because we are able to provide a student with the opportunity that they couldn’t normally have. They are going to be able to start to experience what it’s like to drive a heavy hauler before they get on one, and this is really going to enhance their confidence.”

The simulator allows drivers to practice maneuvers in all weather conditions in a simulated mine environment.

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