When it comes to heavy equipment, the goliaths used in mining dwarf even some of the biggest machines seen on the average construction site.
Here's a look at four of the biggest earthmoving machines and what they're used for:
Rock Trucks: Caterpillar 797F
Pictured: The smaller Caterpillar 777 Rock Truck
Rock trucks are used in mining to transport large amounts of material such as dirt, rocks, and coal across construction sites, gravel pits, and in open-pit mines. Even when empty these trucks are too heavy for public roads.
The world's largest rock truck is the car-dwarfing Caterpillar 797F. Beginning production in late 2009, the 1,375,000 lb Caterpillar 797F can transport up to 400 short tons of material at a time at a top speed of 42 mph. Full specifications.
- Gross Operating weight: 1,375,000 lbs
- Height: 24 ft 5 in
- Length: 49 ft 6 in
- Engine: 20 cylinder, 3,793 hp
Wheel Loaders: LeTourneau L-2350
Wheel loaders, also known as front end loaders or bucket loaders, are one of the most widely used machines in mining and construction today for earth moving, material handling, and digging.
The world's biggest wheel loader, designed to load 80-tons (or 53 cubic yards) of rock at a time up to 24 feet into the massive haul trucks used in mining applications, is the LeTourneau L-2350. Full specifications.
- Gross Operating weight: 577,999 lbs
- Height: 21ft 2 in
- Length: 66ft 6 in
- Engine: 16-cylinder, 2,300 hp
Front Shovels: Caterpillar 6090
A type of hydraulic excavator, the front shovel's main purpose is to move earth for heavy mining applications. Front shovels dig above track level in an upward motion to excavate heavily compacted dirt and rocks.
The biggest front shovel available today is the Caterpillar 6090 (formerly known as the Terex RH400 before Terex was acquired by Bucyrus which was then acquired by Caterpillar in 2011). Its bucket reaches over 60 ft and can hold approximately 57 cubic-yards of material. Full specifications.
- Gross Operating weight: 2,160,510 lbs
- Height: 33 ft 4 in
- Length (tracks): 27 ft 7 in
- Engine: 16-cylinder, 4,500 hp
Bulldozers: Komatsu D575A-3 Super Dozer
Bulldozers (known also as crawler tractors) are large earthmoving machines designed with tracks to allow them to traverse moist ground like soil, snow, or mud, making them ideal for mining applications.
The world's biggest bulldozer is the D575A-3 Super Dozer. Developed in 1991, the massive dozer is capable of moving up to 90 cubic yards of material per pass, or up to 125 cubic yards if equipped with an optional blade. Full specifications.
- Gross Operating weight: 252,600 lbs
- Height: 16 ft
- Length (w/blade): 38 ft 6 in
- Engine: 12-cylinder, 1,150 hp
Think you know of something bigger? Let us know in the comments!