This earthmoving and mining equipment section lists equipment that has been designed primarily to move earth and minerals in large earthmoving and mining projects. Some of this equipment finds it place in other applications, however, and the use of bulldozers and articulated trucks on road and highway projects are just a couple of examples.

One area of surface mining includes giant machines such as drills, electric shovels and giant draglines, some of which have buckets that are capable of moving 160 cubic yards of material in one scoop. Although somewhat smaller than the electric shovel or especially the giant dragline, the mass excavator also fits here, which is basically a large version of the excavator that is used more for mass excavation than for more limited exaction or trenching.

Underground mining equipment is aimed at moving material in a very headroom and space environment. You will notice similarities with some of the surface mining equipment as well as some very specialized pieces developed specifically for the underground mining application.


Articulating Truck

An articulated dump truck has a hinge between the cab and the dump box, but is distinct from semi trailer trucks in that the cab is a permanent fixture, not a separable vehicle. Steering is accomplished via hydraulic rams that pivot the entire cab, rather than rack and pinion steering on the front axle. This vehicle is highly adaptable to rough terrain.



Track Type

The term bulldozer technically refers only to a shovel-like blade, over the years people have come to associate the term bulldozer to the entire vehicle both blade and crawler tractor combined.

Bulldozers are a powerful tracked piece of equipment and the tracks give them excellent ground hold and mobility through very rough terrain. Wide tracks help distribute the bulldozer’s weight over a large area (decreasing pressure), thus preventing it from sinking in sandy or muddy ground.


Many wheel dozers were developed from wheel loaders by fitting a dozer blade in place of the loader arms and bucket. This adaptation was only a success where the machine was used for light-duty tasks.

The first large rubber-tired dozer suitable for earth­moving applications were those produced by none other than earthmoving pioneer R.G. LeTourneau, beginning in 1947. He developed four sizes known as the Models A, B, C, and Tournadozers.


Cable/Hammer Tractor

A cable tractor is a machine used for pulling cables which either can be an electrical cable for a mine shovel or wire ropes during a shovel rope change.



A dragline excavator is a piece of equipment used in civil engineering and surface mining. In civil engineering the smaller types are used as pile driving rigs. The larger types are used in strip-mining operations to move overburden above coal, and for tar-sand mining. Draglines are amongst the largest mobile equipment ever built on land, and weigh in the vicinity of 2000 metric tonnes, though specimens weighing up to 13,000 metric tonnes have also been constructed.
Under 25 yd.

Nobas UB 1254





The purpose of drilling into rock is to provide a “blasthole” into which explosives can be loaded, and detonated to make the site easier to work in.


Haul Truck

End Dump

Off-road dump trucks are used strictly off-road for mining and heavy dirt hauling jobs. There are two primary forms: rigid frame and articulating frame.

The term ‘dump’ truck is not generally used by the mining industry, or by the manufacturers that build these machines. The more appropriate term for this strictly off road vehicle is “haul truck” and the equivalent European term is ‘dumper’. The classification describes how loaded material is discharged from the dump body and in this case, the load is discharged from the rear.

Center Dump Haul Units

An off-highway hauler that dumps its load through longitudinal gates in the bottom of the bottom dump wagon.



Track Loaders

Track loaders are capable in nearly every task, but master of none as a dozer, excavator, or wheel loader will out perform a track loader under a set of conditions. The ability of a track loader to perform almost every task on a job site is why it remains a part of many companies’ fleets.

Wheel Loaders

A loader is a machine often used in construction, primarily used to load loose material (dirt, snow, feed, gravel, logs, etc.) into or onto another type of machine, such as a dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hopper, or railcar.


Motor Grader (mining size e.g. CAT 24H)

A grader, also commonly referred to as a road grader, a blade, a maintainer, or a motor grader, is a machine with a long blade used to create a flat surface. Graders are commonly used in the construction and maintenance of dirt roads and gravel roads. In the construction of paved roads they are used to prepare the base course to create a wide flat surface for the asphalt to be placed on. In civil engineering, the grader’s purpose is to “finish grade” (refine, set precisely) the “rough grading” performed by heavy equipment or engineering vehicles such as scrapers and bulldozers.


Mass Excavator

Mass Excavators are massively built to allow the use of the largest buckets in the industry by weight class. These attachments are stoutly built for power, not reach. The machines are specifically designed for quickly loading trucks with the fewest passes.



Scrapers are large motorized machines used for digging, hauling and leveling out materials in a variety of construction jobs. Running on massive rubber tires, motorized scrapers quickly move large quantities of earth around a construction site, unlike the less popular pull-type scraper.

Single-engine wheeled

A standard motor scraper is comprised of a bowl, an apron to drop down over a load of material in order to retain it, and an ejector to hydraulically push out the load. Due to its hydraulic system, these components can all function independently.

Dual-engine wheeled

Scrapers can be very efficient on short hauls where the cut-and-fill areas are close together and have sufficient length to fill the hopper. The heavier scraper types have two engines (‘tandem powered’), one driving the front wheels, one driving the rear wheels.


Instead of an apron, these scrapers include a hydraulically- or electrically-driven elevator made of two chains equipped with a series of crossbars. The elevator’s purpose is to aid in loading material into the scraper’s elevating bowl. Dumping material is achieved by sliding the floor of the bowl backwards; the elevator can be reversed in order to assist in dumping the load evenly.

Pull type

Pull scrapers are able to move in soft, wet soils, as well as sand. Unlike the motor scraper, pull scrapers are not motorized and must therefore be pulled by another vehicle.

CAT D10T pulling scraper



A shovel used for digging and loading earth or fragmented rock and for mineral extraction.


An electric mining shovel is a bucket-equipped machine consisting of a revolving deck with a power plant, tracks, a counterweight, and a front attachment, such as a boom. The digging phase consists of crowding the dipper into the bank, hoisting the dipper to fill it, then, retracting the full dipper from the bank. The swinging phase occurs once the dipper is clear of the bank both vertically and horizontally. The operator controls the dipper through a planned swing path and dump height until it is suitably positioned over the haul unit (e.g. truck). Dumping involves opening the dipper door to dump the load, while maintaining the correct dump height. Returning is when the dipper swings back to the bank, and involves lowering the dipper into the tuck position to close the dipper door.


The hydraulic mining shovel has been widely used for coal and rock loading since the 1970s. The hydraulic system of power transmission greatly simplifies the power train, eliminates a number of mechanical components that are present in the shovel.


Underground Mining

Continuous Miner

A machine with a large rotating steel drum equipped with tungsten carbide teeth that scrape coal from the seam. Operating in a “room and pillar” system – where the mine is divided into a series of 20-to-30 foot “rooms” or work areas cut into the coal bed – it can mine as much as five tons of coal a minute – more than a miner of the 1920s would produce in an entire day.

Haul Truck

Photo: Atlas Copco

Photo: Atlas Copco

Personnel carrier

Personnel vehicles are used to transport miners and equipment from the surface of the mine to the underground working locations.

Photo: Marcotte Mining Machinery Services Inc.

Remix Truck

Photo: DUX Machinery Corp.


Scaling is a key part in the mining cycle. Scaling is the taking down of loose material from the roof, face and rib in hard rock mining.

Photo: Atlas Copco

Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts are used as a safe way for workers in underground and surface operations to reach elevated work.


A rubber tired, battery or diesel-operated piece of equipment designed for cleaning runways and hauling supplies.


Shotcreter is a mechanized shotcrete spraying system developed specifically for underground ground support applications. Shotcrete is concrete (or sometimes mortar) conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface, as a construction technique. Shotcrete undergoes placement and compaction at the same time due to the force with which it is projected from the nozzle. It can be impacted onto any type or shape of surface, including vertical or overhead areas.

Shuttle car

In room-and-pillar systems, electric-powered, rubber-tired vehicles called shuttle cars haul coal from the face to the intermediate haulage system.

Photo: Joy Mining Machinery


The transmixer sprays concrete in underground mines.


Water Truck

(Giant Mining Type)

Photo: Mine Rite Technologies, LLC