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Massive Metal Mining Machines – The Big Stuff

In our sector, more or less everything is BIG. The machinery, the technology, the processes and the mines themselves are all absolutely massive, whether open cast or underground. This time around we are exploring the mighty world of massive metal mining machines.  


Massive Metal Mining Machines – The Big Stuff

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Aluminium, Brass, Carbon Steel, Copper, Environmental, Innovation, Metal Uses, Steel

Massive Metal Mining Machines – The Big Stuff 

In our sector, more or less everything is BIG. The machinery, the technology, the processes and the mines themselves are all absolutely massive, whether open cast or underground. This time around we’re exploring the mighty world of massive metal mining machines.  

The world’s biggest metal mine machines 

If you’ve ever watched TV’s Gold Rush series you’ll be familiar with the huge, clunky old pieces of original mining machinery recovered by the stars of the show and brought back into working condition. They were big. But they pale into insignificance compared to modern mining machinery.

Massive mining machines are used to explore and develop sites, remove and stockpile left-over overburden, break and carry away solid rock, process the metal ore, and reclaim the land afterwards. Miners use over-sized bulldozers, drills, and lorries. Huge drills sink shafts and excavate holes, vast cranes are used in surface mining to move mountains of overburden and ore. Then there’s the metals processing side of things, requiring unbelievably large crushers, mills, reactors, roasters and more. 

The world’s biggest bucket wheel excavator

Take the Bagger 288, the world’s biggest bucket-wheel excavator. It’s a continuous production machine used used for strip mining and has the distinction of being one of the biggest land vehicles ever as well as one of the heaviest.  It cost $100 million, was built by the German firm Krupp, and was finished back in 1978. Weighing in at 13,500 tons it was 200m (721 feet) long, 96m high (315 feet) and ran on a whopping 16.56 megawatts of electricity. The blade alone was 21m in length, not something you’d want to fall foul of.  

The enormous Bucyrus Erie 2570 dragline

How about the Bucyrus Erie 2570 dragline, nicknamed Big Lou and weighing in at 6500 tons, running on 22,900 Volts of power with a bucket capacity of 90 cubic yards? It was designed to shift an average depth of 26m (85 feet) of overburden to expose seams of ore. And it looks the part. The bucket capacity is 115 cubic yards, the boom extends to 335 feet, and the overall height soars to 222 feet.  

Going underground 

Everything about a mine is huge. Mining drills dwarf their operators. Larger than life underground loaders scoop out mountains of ore in one go.  Giant crane lifts transport enormous amounts of incredibly heavy stuff. The shearing machines used in longwall mining chew gigantic tunnels through rock in record time, featuring huge dinosaur-like drill heads. Then there are modern mining machines caleld caterpillar mining equipment  with intelligence built in, featuring software that reports back on the condition of the blades and their usage from far below the earth’s surface. 

Mining machines are getting ever-bigger 

Mega-drills, earth movers and crushers, they’re a far cry from the ancient hammers, chisels, pickaxes and even bone tools used for mining in the past. In recent years mining machinery has become even bigger, overtaking the previous 150 ton limit with machines weighing in at more than 400 tons. The trend continues as mining firms go to even greater lengths to reach and extract valuable metals. 

As time passes we’ll probably see even bigger hydraulic excavators, wheel and backhoe loaders, bulldozers, dumper trucks and tippers, graders, pavers, vibrating compactors, cranes and more. And as mining metals becomes more of a challenge, requiring us to go deeper and further, we’ll no doubt encounter even bigger and more innovative new mining machinery from brand leaders like Wrigten, Atlas Copco, Liebherr, Joy Mining Machinery, Hitachi, Komatsu, Terex, Ranson & Rappier, Bucyrus Erie and DBT. 

With risky but hugely profitable deep ocean mining on the cards for the future, mining machinery designers like these will need to become even more creative in pursuit of the metals needed by the modern world. 

For all your metal needs

And that leads us neatly on to the metals needed by the modern world! The friendly experts at Metalex will help you with quality 5083 tooling plate and handy 6061 aluminium flat bar, and the brass hexagon bar en12165 supplies you need. As popular stainless steel suppliers in the UK we offer steel in many formats, stainless and otherwise, along with carbon steel and all of our Metalex products come with expert advice when you need it. 

Please complete the enquiry form located on this page, call +44 (0) 330 223 2653 or email us to discover how Metalex could be supplying you with premium metal products and professional metal processing services.


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