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Underground Haulage 



This review provides information on underground haulage equipment and technology. Links to haulage truck suppliers specializing in loaders, slushers, muckers, and locomotives are given. Other topics discussed include health and safety, tracking, cost, maintenance, software and training.


This technology review provides a quick thread of links to technical information on underground haulage equipment, their manufacturers, and related issues including health and safety, cost and maintenance.

We plan to keep updating this and drive it forward to become the definitive source of threads and links on the topic. If you would like your links, threads, themes, news, views, reviews, resources, and services/supplies noted here please contact me.


In the early years, a pit pony. moved coal in the underground mine. Sometime around 1890-1900 air-driven machines were installed. During and following the First World War, underground mechanical haulage began to replace the horse. By 1948, mine cars were hauled by electric and diesel locomotives.

Pit pony (Photo: Cape Breton Miners' Museum)


The InfoMine Equipment pages list over 50 sellers of second hand underground trucks. InfoMine's Buyer's Guide provides ready access to the catalogs of over 150 suppliers of underground trucks and associated parts and equipment, including:

Each supplier specializes in a particular type of underground truck and caters to a specific location and type of mine. For example, Dux Machinery Corporation offers a variety of underground haul trucks suited to specific activities in the mine:


TORO 6M underground loader (Photo: Sandvik Mining and Construction)


Here is a short article about an underground mining method and/or piece of equipment used to move ores. Mining in Manitoba says this about Slusher Mining:

Climax underground slusher and hoist (Photo: Colorado School of Mines)
Although not an actual mining method, the use of slushers for removing ore from drawpoints and pillar stopes was common in the past. A slusher is essentially a double drum hoist. Slushers may have either electric or compressed air motors of 5 to 125 hp. One cable of the slusher is attached to the front of the scraper so that it can be pulled towards the slusher and an orepass. The other cable goes around a block securely fastened in the far end of the slusher drift or pillar and is attached to the back of the scraper. Pulling this cable brings the bucket toward the end of the drift or pillar for another load. As the scraper is dragged across the muck pile, the ore is pulled into an ore pass or into an ore car.

Via Google I found two suppliers that sold new hoists, Wilson Mining Products that sells DOMEQ slushers, and Parts HeadQuarters Inc that sells Joy Slushers.

The only mine I could find that appears to use slushers is Stillwater. Maybe Climax also used slushers. In the book An Old Man Remembers The Way it Was, is the term slusher drift. At this point I stopped, for I was wandering into those fascinating by-ways of the Internet where you read adverts from 1952 for job openings for Slusher Operators in Shropshire. On the historical by-ways of the Internet, here are two links to old pieces about slushers and similar in mines: Compressed Air Magazine from 1921 and The Kellogg Tunnel (undated, but old).


Definition - According to The Free Dictionary, a mucker is defined as either "A term of reproach for a low or vulgar labor person". However, in the case of the article, a mucker is "an excavating machine designed to remove particulate material from within a confined area, as in a tunnel or mine".

Eimco rocker shovel loader (Photo: Trident S.A.)

Close to 20 new and used mucking machines listed on InfoMine's EquipmentMine database, including theEimco Rocker Shovel Loader

See The Eimco rocker shovel loader Model 12B


Close to 30 new and used locomotives listed on InfoMine's EquipmentMine database. Manufacturers include:

Nelmaco Eastern Joy FF-211 slusher (Photo: Nelmaco Eastern Ltd.)

See http://www.steeplegrange.co.uk/locos.htm

Fuel Cell Underground Locomotive

Fuel-Cell Mine Vehicle


Until the mid 20th century, pit ponies were one of the primary ways man and material was transported from underground coal mines. They were so popular that in 1914 there were 70,000 pit ponies at work in British coal mines. Amazingly enough, the last pit pony retired in 1988 and died in 2007 at the ripe old age of 36.

Today, haulage on inclined roads is much different and Becker Mining Systems is a major player in the design of these types of systems. One of Becker Mining System's most popular products is a floor-mounted rope-driven trap rail haulage system specifically designed for transport on inclined roads.

This system is ideal whenever man and material have to be conveyed rapidly and safely on inclined roads. Even when faced with gradients of 45 degrees and single loads of as much as 32 tons, its proven design prevents it from being derailed. Key features include:

  • Outstanding three-dimensional curve behaviour
  • Smooth running and perfect rope guidance
  • Available in gauges of 650 and 900 mm
  • Drive options ranging from open rope, single rope or double rope arrangement
  • Traction for normal, heavy duty and personnel haulage
  • Extremely safe rack-and-pinion trap rail haulage system with pulling forces from 120 kN up to 300 kN

Depending on the haulage task, requirements, and haulage distance, different types of a floor-mounted rack-and pinion trap rail haulage system are available:

  • With diesel-hydraulic drive
  • With electrical drive and trailing cable
  • With electrohydraulic drive and trailing cable

For more details on the various configurations of the trap rail haulage system, please review the Becker Mining Systems online pdf brochure.

Related Links & Articles:


Use of conveyors in an underground mine can only be preferred if the mine produces large amounts of ores from the same areas for significantly longer period of time. A very common application of conveyors as the main source for hauling ores generated in the mine is longwall mining of coal.

Conveyors in Longwall Mining (Photo: Arch Coal Inc)

Conveyors in Longwall Mining (Photo: Arch Coal Inc)

Conveyors in Mansfield Colliery (Photo: www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk)

Conveyors in Mansfield Colliery (Photo: www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk)

Conveyors are also used in conjunction with Road Headers and TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) where a significantly large amount of development is required in a single heading.

Dosco design Self Advancing and Bridge Conveyors to use behind roadheaders. Lintergroup also provide underground conveyors for use with roadheaders. Phoenix Conveyor Belts claims to have manufactured the strongest underground conveyor belt in the world. This super belt is 7.5km (4.7 miles) long, 1,400mm (55in) wide and 35mm (1 3/8in) thick. Tensile strength is 8,200N/mm (47,000piw).

Because of high development requirements to develop new ore bodies faster in order to reduce the overall development costs, there is a constant and continuous demand in use of TBMs in hardrock mining industries. The TBM trailing conveyors allows high production TBMs to continuously advance with minimum delays. Stillwater Mining Company has previously used TBMs to drive tunnels in excess of 5,000 m to gain access to ore bearing zone.


How do I establish the cost of purchasing? Owning and operating a piece of equipments? Where a can I find out ways to reduce these costs. Here are some information sources:


DUX DT-12 underground four-wheel drive dump truck (Photo: DUX Machinery Corp) Some technical papers include:


Here are some guidance documents:


Mine communication has come along way from those early days. In an article titled Mine Communications in the 21st Century, Brian Wilson of MinCom International discusses the communication options for today's non-ferrous metal mines. They have multiple choices when it comes to communications systems, i.e. VHF, UHF,

800/900Mhz and even 2.4Ghz based leaky feeder systems, as well as fibre optic systems. In this article he highlights a list of points that MUST be taken into consideration if a communication system is to work reliably and be available when it is most needed, in an emergency. Below are just a few of these points. Please read Mine Communications in the 21st Century for all the details.

  • Produce a scope of works that defines your requirements - Today, 1 year, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years
  • Do not be satisfied with "yes our system does that function", ask where you can go and see a system working in the field with those features operational
  • The leaky feeder system MUST be designed around the mine tunnel network it is to be installed in
  • Power requirements, PABX connections, fibre connections, concrete foundations if required etc.

Other suppliers in the communications and tracking business include Becker Mining Systems, offering Process automation systems (BetaControl and PROMOS), BeckerCom leaky feeder radio systems, Tagging and tracking, Personnel detection systems, and Belt rip scanners, and Mine Site Technologies whose key technologies include:

  • PED Communication & Emergency Warning System - PED is a through-the-earth communication system installed in over 120 mines. PED's unique ability to transmit directly through hundreds of meters of rock strata enables it to provide true mine wide signal coverage. As such PED is used in many mines as the primary emergency warning system, as well as a general day to day communication system.
  • Integrated Communications Cap Lamp (or ICCL) - The ICCL is much more than just a miner's light, it can also contain any combination of PED Text Receiver, Tag and/or Radio.


The IntelliMine® Mine Management System for open pit mines maximizes productivity by integrating optimized haulage fleet assignments, high-precision GPS applications, and Web reporting. See also Application of Simulation to Selection of Ore Haulage System.


Underground Mining Methods Handbook, Hustrulid, W.A., provides a good amount of information on the type of haulage equipment used in conjunction with different underground mining methods.

Techniques in Underground Mining, edited by Gertsch and Bullock, contains a wealth of information for mining students and industry professionals.

Below are the few interesting publications in the area of underground haulage which have caught my attention:


Obviously, the main reason for training is foremost to improve safety of the workers, but to also improve productively. Training courses are offered by the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, specifically titled: MINE 144 - Ore Movement 1 and is a course that provides an introduction to some of the types of equipment (scooptram, remote controls, ore trucks and conveyors) and procedures used to handle and move muck safely.

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