Types of Excavators for the Mining Industry – What You Need to Know

Coal Mine Excavator.

Having the wrong type of equipment on your mining site can create poor productivity at best and a potentially life-threatening situation at worst. Our guide will help you understand the types of excavation equipment available and which one will help you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Mining Excavators bring power and efficiency to your job site. This guide will explain the types of excavators and help you decide which one has what you need to get your job done.


Types of Excavators

Standard Excavator

A standard excavator has a crawler on two tracks with a boom, stick and bucket. The cab rotates 360 degrees allowing the operator to dig, move and dump dirt and debris from a stationary position. The standard excavator comes in a variety of sizes and is suitable for job sites with soft ground.

Standard excavator


Backhoe Excavator

The backhoe excavator is a versatile piece of machinery well-suited for a variety of jobs. The backhoe excavator has a large bucket or blade that is used to push, level, and move materials attached to the front. A standard excavator boom attachment is on the back of the machine. Depending on the needs of the job site, a backhoe excavator may prove to be more valuable than a standard excavator.


Dragline Excavator

Commonly called a dragline, this equipment is best suited for large surface mining projects. Draglines use a bucket attached to chains and ropers to scrape away layers of soil. To dump the collected debris and dirt, the dragline will rotate and release the bucket’s contents.

Dragline excavator.


Hydraulic Shovels

Also known as power shovels, these machines excel at mining tasks. They have a powerful lifting arm that withstands forceful digging and heavy-duty buckets with large capacities for hauling rocks and other mining site debris.


Long-Reach Excavator

A variation of the standard excavator, long-reach excavators are equipped with extended booms and arms. These machines run on two tracks, like standard excavators and offer similar maneuverability. They are ideal for hard to reach sections of your mining site, such as areas that may be underwater.

Long-reach excavator


Suction Excavator

These are specialised excavators that use high-pressure blasts of water to loosen dirt and other materials. Once the material is dislodged, a suction pipe (with sharp teeth to further break up the ground) removes the debris. This type of excavator is ideal for situations where precision is necessary to avoid damaging underground elements.


Wheeled Excavator

Wheeled excavators are similar to standard excavators with a boom, stick, and bucket attached to the machine’s front. They do not operate on tracks like the standard machines but have wheels that enhance speed and maneuverability. A job site that is flat or sealed is ideal for these.

Wheeled excavator.


Work Tools and Attachments for Excavators

Even though excavating equipment is powerful and can perform several tasks on a mining site, the usefulness of the machine increases when you add one of many available attachments. While some of these may be more applicable to your mining site than others, it is wise to keep these work tools and attachments in mind for a time when they may be ideal for a job.

  • Augers – When you need to dig holes of a uniform size for supports or posts, an auger attachment is an excellent piece of equipment to have on hand. The auger’s spiral hydraulic blade can take care of this tedious job in no time.
  • Buckets – Buckets are the most common type of attachment added to an excavator. You can customise your bucket to the kind of job you have as they are not all the same. A smooth and wide bucket is best suited for lifting and scooping. However, if your project involves trenching or digging, a narrow bucket with teeth is your best choice.
  • Couplers – When the job requires you to use several different attachments, couplers help you change your attachments easily. Typically, you will not need a crew to help switch attachments if you have couplers in place. Using these can expand the usefulness of your excavator and increase productivity.
  • Hammers – If you need to break through hard surfaces, attaching an excavator hammer will make your job infinitely more manageable and much faster as well.
  • Rippers – There are times when the standard equipment you use on your mining site cannot get the job done. If you are up against layers of heavy rock, you might want to consider attaching a ripper. This tool is hard-wearing and can tear through vast deposits of heavy materials.
  • Thumbs – You can expand your excavator material handling ability and boost its bucket volume by attaching a thumb. This attachment will stabilise and secure whatever you are digging while allowing the machine to hold bigger pieces of materials.

You know that having the correct equipment for your mining site is crucial for optimal productivity. However, choosing the excavation equipment to hire for your project takes a solid knowledge base and experience.

If you are unsure which excavation equipment you should use on your site, feel free to contact ESM Resources. Our experienced professionals are happy to direct you to the right equipment to get the job done.