Technology: Surface Mining

Cutting, crushing and loading rock in a single operation

Our know-how in mature cutting technology permits deposits to be mined selectively and without drilling and blasting. The method is environmentally friendly and yields useful minerals of the purest quality!

Become acquainted with the operating principle and technical components of the surface mining technology. Get to know our state-of-the-art cutting technology, and learn more about new methods in the mining of useful minerals.

Operating principle of Surface Mining

This is how a modern Surface Miner works

  1. Service

    Surface miners are used as primary extraction equipment and are typically operated on a 24-hour basis. To ensure maximum machine availability, WIRTGEN offers a unique customer-specific service for large-scale projects: in close cooperation between the German main plant and the WIRTGEN GROUP’s local subsidiary, WIRTGEN sets up additional service facilities in the immediate vicinity of the customer’s site. Service centres ensure the professional repair or overhaul of surface miners while enabling a comprehensive parts inventory to be stocked at the same time.

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    Numerous WIRTGEN GROUP service experts offer “just-in-time” support on site.

    Numerous WIRTGEN GROUP service experts offer “just-in-time” support on site.

  2. Access

    Wide, hydraulically adjustable access ladder for easy access to the machine.

  3. Levelling system

    Mining the material in precisely the required thickness is crucial for the selective mining of rock layers. That is the job of the machine’s automatic levelling system: It maintains the specified cutting depth.

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  4. WIRTGEN Pick Inspection

    Automatic monitoring of the degree of tool wear allows the tools to be replaced economically at precisely the right time.

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  5. Power unit with diesel engine

    Fuel-efficient, powerful diesel engine paired with a heavy-duty mechanical belt drive for high cutting performance.

  6. Track units

    Separately steerable and height-adjustable track units for full manoeuvrability and precise cutting depth adjustment in off-road operation.

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  7. Safety equipment

    Comprehensive safety package ensuring compliance with international mining regulations.

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  8. Cutting drum

    Mechanically driven, wear-resistant cutting drum working in up-cutting mode for efficient operation.

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  9. Discharger conveyor

    Discharge conveyor including raising and slewing function for direct loading onto a transport vehicle.

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  10. Drum tooling

    Extra-robust mining tools arranged in a helical pattern for high cutting performance, minimized tool wear and extended durability.

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  11. Kabin

    Fully glazed and sound-insulated comfort cabin including swivelling function for productive working.

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  12. Counterweight

    Movable counterweight for high machine stability and undisturbed operation along the edge of embankments.

As the surface miner moves forward, a special cutting drum rotates against the direction of travel, cutting layers of material from the rock formations and crushing it in the process. The primary conveyor picks up the material in the drum housing and transports it towards the rear of the machine, where it is then accepted by the slewable and height-adjustable discharge conveyor. The discharge conveyor loads the material into trucks or dumpers or discharges it to the side of the miner. The discharge height can be adjusted to the height of the transport vehicles. The surface miner is driven via four steerable and height-adjustable track units. An automatic levelling system ensures precise adherence to the cutting depth, thus enabling even thin seams or layers to be mined selectively and with maximum accuracy.

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The key benefits of Surface Mining technology

Surface miners are just one step in a whole process chain but have a vital influence on the entire process – and in particular on the final result. The following features are the hallmarks of this innovative method:

Cutting crushing and loading in a single operation

The mining material is cut, crushed and, if required, loaded straight into trucks or dumpers in a single operation, thus dispensing with conventional primary crushing in an additional work step. The surface mining process is much more economical than standard drilling and blasting methods with subsequent material loading.

WIRTGEN surface mining – a single operation instead of four.

WIRTGEN surface mining – a single operation instead of four.

Selective mining

Surface miners extract primary resources in a selective operation, achieving high degrees of purity and maximizing exploitation of the deposits. Selective mining considerably reduces equipment, labour and time requirements as well as overburden volumes.

Blasting is avoided, stable surfaces are created

Strict environmental standards in terms of noise and dust emissions make the vibration-free surface mining process attractive in comparison to drilling and blasting. The stable, precise and level surfaces produced in mining, earthworks and rock operations are suitable for immediate use as pavements, slopes or tunnel floors.

WIRTGEN surface mining leaves precise and stable slopes as well as flat, easily maneuverable areas.

WIRTGEN surface mining leaves precise and stable slopes as well as flat, easily maneuverable areas.

Minimized environmental impact

We not only develop innovative machines of the highest quality. With our machine technology, we also constantly endeavour to keep environmental pollution as low as possible. A WIRTGEN surface miner is a perfect example of this philosophy: it impresses with its environmentally friendly technology as it cuts, crushes and loads rock in a single operation. A tremendous advantage of selective mining is that the vibrationless mining operation without drilling and blasting is accompanied by low levels of dust and noise. The low environmental impact also permits maximum exploitation of the deposit right up to the edge of residential areas. The selective mining of high-quality materials requires considerably less space than conventional mining methods. Our fuel-efficient, intelligently controlled engines comply with the strictest exhaust emission standards.

  • WIRTGEN Surface Mining reduces four operating steps to one.
  • State-of-the-art engine technology reduces exhaust and noise emissions.
  • Anti-vibration engine support reduces vibration and noise emissions.
  • State-of-the-art machine reduces exhaust and noise emissions.
  • Soundproofing reduces noise emissions.
Avoiding blasting means avoiding danger.
Dr.-Ing. Erik Zimmermann, Product Manager Surface Mining – WIRTGEN GmbH

WIRTGEN is global market leader in the manufacture of machines for cutting rock in opencast mining operations. WIRTGEN surface miners cut primary resources such as coal, gypsum, iron ore, salt, phosphate, bauxite, limestone or granite, achieving high degrees of purity in the process. They are increasingly used as primary extraction equipment also in newly opened-up opencast mines or extensions of existing opencast mine operations.

Our surface miners in action worldwide

Make the most of each job

Market-leading and cutting-edge products for the Road and Mineral Technologies business sectors are constructed at the WIRTGEN brand headquarters in Windhagen, Rhineland-Palatinate. With its innovative, high-performance and cost-efficient products and technologies for cold milling, soil stabilization, hot and cold recycling, concrete paving and surface mining, WIRTGEN leads the world market in road construction and repair, as well as in mining natural rock and pay minerals.