Breaking the surface

Surface mining machines are not just for soft rock such as coal and phosphate – they can also be used in hard rock applications. Ailbhe Goodbody investigates

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The Vermeer Terrain Leveler SEM cuts downward and uses the machine’s weight to provide better traction

There are some advantages to using surface miners for hard-rock deposits such as iron ore or limestone when compared with alternative mining methods such as drilling and blasting.