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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia equipment manufacturer says its new relationship with a Chinese mining company will open up new markets and help make Chinese mines safer.

Petitto Mine Equipment and China's Datong Coal Mine Group Ltd. are signing a cooperation agreement Friday in Morgantown.

Officials with the US-China Energy Center at West Virginia University introduced leaders of the two companies at a coal expo in China in 2008.

WVU officials say this relationship grew from a memorandum of understanding that WVU signed with Shanxi Province in 2010.

Petitto owners George Marshall and James Petitto say their family-owned business produces the Petitto MuleT, a diesel-powered device used to install and retrieve shields in longwall mines.

Petitto sold its first Mule earlier this year to Datong, the world's fourth-largest mining company.

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