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https://www.automotiveworld.com/news-releases/barrick-gold-corp-ordered-35-new-ford-f-150s-secretly-testing-f-150-aluminum-cargo-boxes/

Barrick Gold USA, one of three Ford customers chosen to blindly test two prototype F-150 pickups with experimental aluminum-alloy cargo boxes, has placed an initial order for 35 all-new 2015 F-150 trucks

Barrick testing helped improve the all-new, high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy-bodied F-150 – the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever

Barrick accumulated more than 100,000 miles on its two F-150 test vehicles, putting the trucks through the harshest challenges daily; workers would literally throw heavy pieces of equipment into the cargo bed, including large pumps, motors and specialty tools
 

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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 – a special hitch used for heavy towing – and a variety of heavy-duty tools. Barrick is the world’s largest gold producer and operates six mines in the western United States.
Since they already use F150's kind of makes sense when they need new trucks they'd buy more F150's. They probably have some form of contact or deal with Ford.

What would be interesting is for Honda to give a few Ridgelines to a business like that for testing.
 

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I thought about that too. Then I thought maybe the RL is too expensive. The RL is a higher quality vehicle overall and these companies want something disposable after a few years of lease. Would still be good advertising and R&D for Honda.
 
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