Select Page

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.


Tata harnesses sewage bacteria to help the environment, Azovstal Steel Plant latest, recycling records beaten

Defending the Azovstal steel works in the besieged city of Mariupol has become ‘priority number one’ for Ukraine. The plant is the last place Ukrainian resistance is holding out in the city. The area has become the heart of the war and efforts continue to defend it,...

Metal supply woes – covid, supply chains, protests, war and more.

Need 6061 aluminium UK? In the market for 6082 aluminium round bar? The world of metal supply is looking particularly turbulent at the moment thanks to Russia’s war on Ukraine, the need to deal with climate change, the global cost of living crisis, ongoing worldwide...

About mining metals under the ocean

As a trusted metals supplier we know exactly how important the products we sell to the world we all live in. The built environment, transport across the planet itself and beyond, communications, the goods we buy on an everyday basis, metals are crucial in so many...

Space metals – Which metals are tough enough for lift off?

The forces you get when a space rocket takes off are quite something, especially during the phase of ‘maximum aerodynamic pressure’ when the rocket’s actually thrusting through the earth’s atmosphere. Despite these powerful forces the craft’s liquid fuel systems have...

Aluminium plate supplier special – 2022 aluminium supply and prices

At Metalex we sell an awful lot of aluminium. This time we’re delving into the aluminium sector. At one end China’s covid outbreaks are affecting supplies and pricing. At the other end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to supply worries and prices are already on...

Marvellous Metals

6061 aluminium plate, 7075 aluminium round bar, brass round bar cz121, aluminium extrusion, it’s all familiar stuff. But look deeper and science has discovered some very odd metals indeed, with very strange properties. Let’s explore the ins and outs of Gallium. ...

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.  ...

US tariff troubles, Scottish steel nightmares Car bonnet sculptures

The festive season is over, the mornings and evenings are lighter, and spring is in the air. We’re stocked with all manner of essential metal supplies, from everyday products like quality 6061 plate to brass square bar en12165 and carbon steel. Suppliers like us keep...

Weird metal stories – Bizarre robots, shape shifters, asteroids

Metals are some of the commonest substances on earth. They can also be some of the oddest, capable of extraordinary feats of weirdness when manipulated by scientists. As steel suppliers, UK  brass suppliers, and experts in handy stuff like 6082 plate and aluminium...

Happy festivities to our metal suppliers UK customers

The price of metals tends to be fairly volatile in ordinary times. Like everyone else, as metals supply professionals we’ve had an ‘interesting’ year as covid, the drive to cut CO2 emissions and international tensions have impacted prices and supplies. But we’re still...

Accreditations & Associations

Aluminium Stockholders Association

Quick Enquiry

Leave this field blank
  • South East
  • South West
  • London
  • South Wales
  • North Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • North East
  • North West
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Nothing found

0330 223 2653