To get the job done, miners use a variety of mining methods and mining machines: bulldozers, scrapers, dump trucks, loaders, mining shovel machines, drills, etc. However, these mining machines are all used in different ways. The mining methods can be classified into open-pit mining, contour mining, area mining and auger mining. Open-pit mining is used where thick coal seams are overlaid by thick or thin overburden materials, and also for mining steeply pitching coal seams. In the initial stages of this mining method, a considerable amount of overburden materials must be accumulated in large dump areas, but outside the mine. The mining operations that take place in rolling terrains are known as contour mining operations. This method removes the overburden materials above the coal seams and creates a bench around the hill.
Area mining is a method used on flat terrains. It starts with a box cutting through the overburden to expose only a part of the coal seam, which is later extended to the maximum limits. After the coal removal, this mining method applies a second parallel cut and the overburden materials from this cut are placed in the void of the first cut. The fourth basic mining method is the auger mining. Although auger mining is similar with contour strip mining, this method involves different approaches.
Now when you know the basic mining methods, it is the right time to learn more about the mining machines which are used, starting with the mining shovel:
Mining Shovel: The mining shovel is an essential piece of mining machinery, used for scooping ore, overburden material, coal and sand. Powered by diesel fuel or electrically powered, the mining shovel is used for moving large amounts of ground materials for various applications. Overburden removal is a very important operation in the mining sector. This operation can only be performed by using a mining shovel. This machine comes with a heavy-duty boom, and it is equipped with a bucket to cut the ground quickly and efficiently.
Bulldozer: The bulldozer is a specific type of heavy-duty machine with a quite important role in the mining industry. The bulldozer is usually used for surface mining operations like clearing sand, removing soil and preparing a mining area for another operation. Featuring wide tracks, the bulldozer is capable to push materials in all ground environments, including rough terrains.
Scraper: This large mining machine is also used for removing materials from mines, but it can also be used for other applications. The scraper is suitable for leveling, digging and hauling applications, and just like the mining shovel, it is an essential part of every mining operation. It can be powered by one or two engines, and the two-engine configuration is used for more complex operations.
Articulated Truck: Last but not the least is the articulated truck. The articulated truck is a versatile machine that is used for hauling extremely large and heavy loads, and to move them over rough terrains with minimal effort. The articulated truck is an excellent addition for every mining company.