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This review describes the current state of technology of the equipment and technical processes involved in trucks in open pit and underground mine operations. Topics covered include suppliers of trucks and related equipment, the types and varieties of trucks and excavators available on the market, the cost and technical characteristics of trucks and excavation equipment and operation, jobs and employment involving the design, procurement, operation, and maintenance of trucks and excavators at mines.


Curtin University captures the essence of a mine truck in these words, as part of one of their Curtin Industrial Modelling and Optimisation projects:

"An important problem in mining is that of selecting a fleet of trucks and loaders for use in extracting ore and waste throughout the life of the mining operation. The cost of the truck and loader fleet has been estimated as being up to 55% of the total cost of the operation making purchasing the correct combination of trucks and loaders critical."


As always, the best history of trucks is on Wikipedia. I quote: The word "truck" comes from the Greek "trochos", meaning "wheel". In America, the big wheels of wagons were called trucks. When the petrol engine driven trucks came into fashion, these were called "motortrucks" and the word motor in front of truck disappeared.

The term "truck" is most commonly used in American English and Australian English to refer to what earlier was called a motor truck, while the equivalent term in British English is lorry (although the official term is Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV)). The British term is, however, only used for the medium and heavy types (see below), i.e. a van, a pickup or a SUV would never be regarded a "lorry" . Other languages have loanwords based on these terms, such as the Malay lori.

Another source of information on the history of trucks and what they are is at Reference.com. Again I quote:

A truck is a motor vehicle for transporting goods. Unlike automobiles, which usually have a unibody construction, most trucks (with the exception of the car-like minivan) are built around a strong frame called a chassis. They come in all sizes, from the automobile-sized pickup truck to towering off-road mining trucks or heavy highway semi-trailers.


Trucks and Mining Dumpers form the backbone of waste/ore transportation and handling in surface mines. Because of this, there are always enough opportunities for dump truck operators and heavy duty mechanic in mining industries throughout the globe. Scores of openings can be found on CareerMine specifically on dump truck operators and heavy duty mechanics.


The primary manufacturers of trucks for use in the mining industry are: Hitachi, Liebherr, Caterpillar, Komatsu, and Terex. Suppliers are listed in the InfoMine suppliers database. Used Haul Trucks and Used Articulated Trucks are also listed in InfoMine's New and Used Equipment section. With this information, there is no doubt that you, as an informed miner, could select and purchase your own fleet.

M.G. Currie, a fleet economist, mentions that Caterpillar, the world's leading heavy equipment manufacturer, commands the largest market share in the haul truck category. The balance of the market is shared among the other four manufacturers, with Komatsu enjoying somewhat better success than the others in the 240T and 360T class. The industry has consolidated over the past decade, with Hitachi acquiring Euclid, Terex merging with Unit Rig, and Komatsu acquiring what was Wabco.

Innovation is the watch-word of all truck manufacturers. The most innovative seems to be the Emirates Truck Factory. I spent an hour on their site examining all the fascinating features of their beautiful trucks. The videos on ETF Trucks show a promising future for its application in mining industries.


Thedford Mines. The little trucks in the distance have 10 foot tires Tires and good road are critical to the cost-effective operation of mine trucks. Tire suppliers are listed in the InfoMine database.

Even the best truck with the newest tires is useless if your haul roads are not good. See this InfoMine review for pointers on haul road design and maintenance.


If you are not entirely confident selecting your own fleet, consultants will help.

  • M.G. Currie: fleet economist with experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers global mining group, Caterpillar and Komatsu; assists with equipment selection and maintenance strategies for haul truck fleets.
  • WBM provides a range of services to operators and manufacturers of large haul trucks, having been involved in the design, testing and analysis of truck bodies, drive trains and suspension units.
  • EMG's website notes that they have developed and tested 31 Capital, Cost Containment, Expediting, and Risk Management Programs at 161 mines in 22 countries.


Trucks are purchased; operators must be trained. Training programs may be provided by their manufacturers or from one or more of the following:

  • VISTA develops training programs for the construction and surface mining industries. Government agencies, utilities, contractors, surface mines and manufacturers benefit from shared cost development of video, CD-ROM, seminar, onsite equipment operator and Internet based training.
  • Fifth Dimension Technologies. The 5DT Haul Truck Training Simulator teaches the trainee haul truck driver how to drive a large off-highway haul truck. It also teaches trainees how to position the truck for loading (e.g. beside a shovel or wheeled loader) and how to position it for dumping, both at the ore crusher and at a waste dumping area. Trainees also learn to drive in reduced visibility (fog and dust conditions) and at night.
  • RungePincockMinarco provides mining training courses globally. They have industry, technical and software courses. Their technical courses include Truck and Shovel Mining Systems.
  • RW Consulting and Training Services: They describe their mission as providing heavy equipment training services, and production and safety enhancement programs to mines and equipment companies. They offer training programs specific to heavy equipment use in open pit mining. Their most recent announcement:
  • Our New Simulator is in. The Simlog 320 Track Excavator Backhoe. We have a portable system available with an operator seat and joystick controls with digital projection video graphics. Available with instructor. This is the perfect no-risk way to learn how to operate a Backhoe.

As always there is more to it than the website lets on. So I contacted them and asked more about the company history and the folk who make it happen. Here is what they replied:

Our Facility is located in downtown Sparwood. Sparwood is the heart of the Western Canadian Coal Mining Industry. We have five big coal mines around us here (Elk Valley Coal Corp).
We have offices and small classroom / meeting rooms here. The permanent version of the Simulator is housed here as well and we have a portable model that we can take along on the road.
Our staff consists of 2 office staff and 12 trainers. The trainers are all retired or almost retired training specialists from the local mining industry with huge amounts of mining experience.
Our services are offered in 3 ways. (1) Trainers and consultants to mines internationally for operator training or BI (Business Improvement Practices). (2) Trainers to equipment manufacturers such as LeTourneau and P&H where training is part of the equipment sale or aftermarket package. (3) In house training programs for individuals or EI, WCB retraining programs on heavy equipment leading to employment.
There are very few companies that can offer these kinds of mining improvement packages and in these days when the boomers are retiring, the Oil Sands is hiring up all of the experienced labor, and companies are scrambling to get enough able people to keep operations running well. We are starting to see an increased demand for our services.
We are in the process of negotiating a possible joint venture with a major learning institution franchise in Canada. This should increase our presence here in Western Canada considerably.


Trucks are purchased, drivers trained, and the equipment is in the field. Modular Mining Systems provides a full line of products and software to track them: GPS units attached to the trucks. Here are other publications on GPS and trucks:


Haul trucks are involved in more quarry accidents and deaths than any other piece of equipment. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has an accident prevention program, and they have safety tips. Here are some resources:

Front view of vision limitations from the cab of a 150-ton rear-dump truck

Powered haulage has been, and continues to be, the major source of severe accidents and fatalities in surface mining. From 1972 through 1974, truck haulage accidents were the leading cause of fatalities at metal and nonmetal surface mines. From 1989 through 1991, accidents involving surface mine haulage trucks accounted for the greatest number of accidents with the most severe injuries and fatalities. The latest preliminary accident statistics from MSHA indicate that over 33% (again, the largest single category) of the 1995 fatalities were attributable to powered haulage.

Plan view of vision limitations from the cab of a 150-ton rear-dump truck


Bigger trucks lead to bigger shovels CostMine (a division of InfoMine) is a comprehensive source of information about the cost of purchasing, owning, and operating mining equipment, including haul trucks. They have a Mine & Mill Equipment Costs Estimator's Guide, as well as an Equipment Cost Calculator.


The World's Biggest Truck

This new mining truck can carry about 360 tonnes (400 tons) at 64 km/h. New Scientist interviewed its designer, Francis Bartley, who says that such a truck costs US$3 million and that the worldwide market for these trucks doesn't exceed 75 units per year. He adds that this is an unconventional truck. It has a 2723-kilowatt diesel engine which powers two electric motors, making the T 282 B the biggest AC drive truck. If you like big toys, you'll enjoy this interview.

T 282 B mining truck (Photo credit: Liebherr)

To the right is a stunning photograph of a man standing next to a T 282 B mining truck (Credit: Liebherr). Impressive, isn't?

Here is the link for more details on this truck.

From ThomasNet IndustrialNewsRoom: In a move to further enhance its position as the world's leading manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, Caterpillar announced today that it will produce a Cat line of AC electric drive mining trucks. Caterpillar views the addition of an AC electric drive truck line as an enhancement to providing customers with products to fit key applications.


US TRUCK manufacturer Paccar has medium-duty trucks with environmentally friendly hybrid motors.

According to their website, PACCAR is committed to reduce its environmental footprint in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), water consumption and waste. In terms of manufacturing their trucks, all Company manufacturing locations that have been in operation for more than two years have achieved ISO14001 certification. Also, PACCAR has invested $160 million over the past ten years in facility projects that have improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions, reduced water consumption and waste.
Peterbilt Model 330 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Photo credit: Paccar) All PACCAR vehicles have near-zero emissions of NOx, a smog causing compound, and are compliant with all applicable standards including those by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission.

PACCAR has been a market leader in manufacturing trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) since 1996 with over 35% U.S. market share. Natural gas engines reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%. Kenworth and Peterbilt also offer resource-conserving technologies like an electric hybrid drive system which can provide up to a 28% improvement in fuel economy, 28% emissions reduction and 50% reduction in brake wear.

For more details, see their website at http://www.paccar.com/environmental/

Another useful website is Truck Locator Online. Their Truck Fuel Efficiency Guide shows you how to improve your truck's fuel economy. Tips are given such as how to improve your driving habits, essential daily checks, adjusting your load for maximum fuel efficiency, as well as maintenance and upgrade tips. They also provide an infographic. Check out the guide at https://www.trucklocator.co.uk/hub/truck-fuel-efficiency-guide/


There is one giant mining truck Terex 33-19 "Titan" kept for public display in Sparwood, B.C., Canada. Though, this 350 short tons truck never entered regular production cycle, but it definitely serves now as an exciting showpiece for the visitors.
Peterbilt Model 330 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Photo credit: Paccar)

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