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List of Equipment You Need for Open Pit Mining [Cost Included]

The general mining industry is experiencing massive growth, and to ensure you stay current and relevant in the face of the rising competition, it is pertinent you stay up-to-date on the current trends.

The mining industry is renowned as one of the oldest industries with records dating back to 4,000 BC. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the value of the total shipment of metal mining products in 2018 went up from the previous year by 4.2%.

As such, if you have the right resources and expertise, this is a business you would want to consider as it offers numerous niches and opportunities.

In this line of business, you can only achieve the needed success if you have the requisite heavy machinery and equipment to run the business. However, depending on the type and size of the project, the cost of heavy machinery and equipment can be quite massive.

List of Equipment You Need for Open Pit Mining

  1. Draglines

Open-pit mining businesses are known to heavily use draglines. This equipment are large excavators that features a bucket supported by ropes and wires at the end of a boom.

Lowering the bucket and scraping it along the ground helps to gather and collect overburden or mined material. Moving the bucket at the end of the dragline around makes it possible to dump its contents into a precise spot.


These excavators are used for different things, such as:

  • Moving heaps of overburden to prepare an open pit
  • Removing exposed material, like tar sand, from a strip mine.
  • Reducing emissions especially when compared to other overburden removal methods.
  • Cutting into high wall surfaces and removing material.
Cost: US$50–100 million.
  1. Wheel Tractor Scrapers

This equipment is designed almost the same way as motor graders. Nevertheless, the scrapers tend to come with an attached bin that works to collect the material removed from the ground’s surface rather than moving it back into the side as a grader does.

To work with the scraper, the driver leverages controls inside the cab to up or lower the bin to the ground. When on the ground, the edge of the bin works to scrape the ground materials, and directly move it into the bin.

Once filled, a vertical flap restrains the material inside the bin, and this means that it won’t spill during transport. When it gets to the deposit location, the bin tilts and opens in the rear to empty the scraped dirt.

  • Building roads
  • Making initial cuts into the land for a mine.
  • Reclaiming land.
  • Carrying out mining operations
Cost: $650,000–$730,000 (Depending on Size)
  1. Large Mining Trucks

To help haul materials around a site, workers will have to make use of heavy-duty trucks. Most often referred to as off-highway trucks, large mining trucks encompass both powerful mechanical models and environmentally friendly electric drive models.

Unlike conventional trucks, these mining vehicles come with very large tires to ensure that heavy loads can be transported over uneven terrain most often found around surface mines. Aside from that, these trucks can carry high payload capacities to accommodate the need for moving weighty mined minerals or ore out of the site.

  • Hauling materials at surface mines.
  • Moving materials up steep slopes.
  • Carrying up to a 400-ton payload.
Cost: $6-$7.5 million, depending on size and model
  1. Hydraulic Mining Shovels

Also known as excavators, mining shovels we are accustomed to today came up from the original steam shovel design used in years past. The models in this modern era tend to feature hydraulics for moving the shovel to power through tough materials.

A good number of them encompass a base with either tracks or wheels atop which the pivoting cab sits. The pivoting action makes it possible for the operator to access material in a circle around the shovel without moving so much. A specifically built arm holds the shovel, both of which the operator controls from inside the cab.

  • Hauling earth or mined materials.
  • Digging
  • Moving material into a loader.
  • Removing rock or dirt, also known as overburden, from surface mines to open the site.
  • Transporting some mined materials.
Cost: Around $1 million to $10 million, depending on the brand, size, and features.
  1. Large Dozers

The work of this equipment is to move materials easily around a mining site. Aside from that, the choice of vehicles with wheels or tracks enhances the types of surfaces these dozers can operate on. Extra attachments can alter the dozers’ uses to include many other applications.

  • Creating mine sites by pushing the surface material away to expose the ground beneath.
  • Maintaining a mine site by moving dirt away from working areas.
  • Reclaiming the land around mining sites.
  • Ripping plant matter out of the ground.
  • Raking the land around a mine site.
Cost: Around $1 million to $2 million+, depending on size and horsepower.
  1. Electric Rope Shovels

Rather than making use of hydraulics to control the movement of the shovel at the end of the arm, electric rope shovels leverage numerous pulleys and ropes. As against hydraulic shovels, these models are known to use electric operation, and this gives room for highly efficient performance over time.


The function of electric rope shovels is similar to those of hydraulic excavators. As such, rope shovels have the following uses:

  • Eradicating overburden to prepare a mine site.
  • Digging through hard materials.
  • Moving earth.
  • Removing boulders.
  • Transferring mined material to a loader.
  • Transporting material.
Cost: From several million dollars to over $10 million, depending on their size, capacity, and specific features
  1. Rotary Drill Rigs and Rock Drills

The work of this equipment is to create holes through rock or soil, and this gives room for the placement of charges for blasting open mines. A rotary drill rig is renowned as one of the two most important types of drills used for mining.

The other type is a percussion or hammer drill. For a rotary drill rig, the drill bit moves under pressure to cut into the rock. Keep in mind that as the bit turns, the rock grinds down while compressed air moves it back up the drill to the top to keep the hole and bit clean.

It is very pertinent to note that rotary drill bits create holes that range from 6 to 22 inches in diameter and average 30 to 60 feet deep. In certain instances, though, miners will leverage rotary drills to dig holes up to 150 feet deep and as shallow as 15 feet.


Rotary and rock drills have the following uses:

  • Making holes for blasting charges for surface mining.
  • Production drilling to make wells.
  • Presplit rock drilling.
  • Expanding mines.
  1. Motor Graders

You will have to understand that mines barely have ready access to roads. Note that even mines that are close to major roadways will need roads built within the area to ensure the smooth and efficient movement of material. That is where this equipment comes in.

When moving minerals, ore, or other mined materials along roads, things like debris or ponding water can slow vehicles. Motor graders make it possible for the roads to possess the ideal grading and adequate drainage.


Basic uses for graders include:

  • Moving surface material to clear roads.
  • Creating proper grades to allow water to drain away from roads.
  • Constructing haul roads.

$60,000 to $500,000, depending on size and model.

  1. Large Wheel Loaders

The essence of this equipment is to aid with the picking up and swift movement of material across a mining site for loading into trucks. Ideally, the sizes are known to vary from compact to large. As the wheel loader’s size increases, its bucket capacity and load handling also go up.

Aligning the wheel loader’s handling capabilities for both the volume and density of materials at the mine is very necessary to guarantee that the machine will hold up to the rigors of everyday use without premature wear.


Typically found at open pit mines, large wheel loaders can be used to carry out a whole lot of tasks, such as:

  • Loading materials onto trucks for transport.
  • Digging
  • Supporting jobs of other loading and transport vehicles on-site.
CostL $40,000 to $1 million, depending on size and horsepower

Mentioned above are some of the basic equipment needed for open pit mining as well as their uses and costs. Nevertheless, just as was noted above, the exact equipment you need will vary depending on the type and size of the project.