Peoria, Ill.-based heavy equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. announced July 30 that it will build an 850,000-sq-ft mining equipment plant in Winston-Salem, N.C. Construction of the facility, where the company will machine, assemble, test and paint axle assemblies for its  mining trucks, is set to begin in November, with production scheduled to start in early 2012.

“Caterpillar has worked hard with many local partners in North Carolina, and we thank them for their assistance during the site selection process,” says Hans Haefeli, vice president for advanced components and systems. “We look forward to establishing our new lower powertrain facility in Winston-Salem, which will allow us to substantially increase our capacity and improve the process capability, flexibility and flow of our operations.”

The plant is expected to employ roughly 390 full-time workers, along with some 120 contract workers.

North Carolina officials approved a $16.8-million incentives package of tax rebates, credits and grants contingent on the company meeting hiring goals for 11 years. Winston-Salem and Forsyth County put up $23 million, making the total incentives package worth almost $40 million.

Montgomery, Ala., and Spartanburg, S.C., had also been in the running for Cat’s new plant.

A Caterpillar spokesperson said the company saw the presence of automotive plants in Montgomery and Spar­tanburg as drawbacks because of their potential effects on prevailing wages and the company’s ability to attract workers.

Caterpillar currently employs about 1,000 workers at nine sites in North Carolina. The equipment manufacturer reported $32.4 billion in sales and revenues in 2009. It recently reported strong mining equipment sales and a second-quarter profit surge of 91% to $707 million.