When it comes to mining, bigger is usually better. Mines operate on large scales, and profitability relies upon the operator’s capacity to transport large quantities of resources, to buyers, as quickly as possible. For this reason, mining operators are increasingly in search of bigger, more powerful, and more efficient machines to get the job done.
While there are fairly big trucks on the Kalgoorlie or Newman mine sites and roads our mobile repair teams can vouch for, they are rather smaller compared to the mammoths you can find around the world.
In this article, we take a look at the world’s biggest mining dump trucks.
The Belaz 75710
This beast is the world’s largest dump truck, boasting a whopping 496-tonne capacity. Launched in 2013 by Belarusian Belaz, and first gaining popularity with large Russian mining firms, the mammoth 75710 has become a favourite among mining operators worldwide, thanks to its reliability, efficiency and sheer payload volume.
Featuring a 20.6-metre-long profile and two 2,300HP diesel engines, the vehicle alone weighs in at 360 tonnes, and is supported by cutting-edge Michelin tubeless pneumatic tyres.
Of course, nothing of this size moves quickly. However, the top speed of the 75710 is 64kph, keeping it on par with competitor machines of smaller scale.
How Much Does the World’s Largest Dump Truck Cost?
The biggest dump truck in the world costs $6-$7.5 million, but it’s worth every penny thanks to its world-class engineering.
It comes with an all-wheel drive, which makes easier handling, efficient braking, and tight cornering. A dynamic axle system increases the carrying capacity while allowing for even payload distribution across the dump truck’s frame.
At full hauling capacity, the Belaz 75710 carries 87 tonnes more than the Caterpillar 797F, the second-largest mining dump truck in the world.
Each of its dual, turbocharged diesel engines produce 2300 horsepower, which is the equivalent 6 Formula 1 race car engines.
The Belaz 75710 weighs as much as a fully-loaded Airbus passenger plane but boasts the handling capacity of a typical dump truck (once you get used to the dimensions).
The Belaz 75710 generates 24 times more torque than a Formula 1 Car’s engine to let it navigate tight corners and pull heavy loads up slippery slopes.
When empty, the monster dump truck can run on one engine to conserve fuel and will lumber to repair centre under its own steam if one of the electric motors fails.
Caterpillar have been building rugged machinery since 1925 and are one of the world’s most trusted heavy machinery brands. So, it’s little wonder that the American firm takes second place amongst the worlds biggest mining dump trucks with their 797F.
This model has been working the world’s mining sites since 2009 and is still an industry favourite thanks to its 400-tonne capacity.
Weighing in at over 680 tonnes with a full load, and measuring almost 15 metres in length, the vehicle is lighter and smaller than its Belarusian nemesis.
Its turbocharged, Cat C175-20 four-stroke diesel engine does pull it along at around 68kph, however, making it speedier than the Belaz.
Terex MT 6300AC
American manufacturer Terex takes out third place with their 400-tonne capacity 6300AC.
After a series of acquisitions, Caterpillar has become the final guardian of the Terex brand, meaning Cat now manufactures two of the world’s most impressive mining dump trucks.
The 6300AC tips the scales at 660 tonnes when loaded, and measures in at 14.8 metres. Twin rear axle-mounted electric motors are powered by a diesel four-stroke engine, which supplies this truck with over 3,700HP and see it operate at speeds of up to 64kph.
Liebherr T 284
US-built Liebherr trucks have been on the scene since the late 1940s and hold their own amongst the Caterpillar and Belaz heavyweights with several of their machines.
The T 284 is the latest in the range, offering up a massive 3,750HP, top speed of 64kph, and an operating weight in excess of 660 tonnes.
At 15.69 metres in length, the T 284 is powered by an electric drive system and Liebherr’s own insulated-gate bipolar transistor.
Finally, Belarusian Belaz takes out another gong in the world’s top five largest mining dump trucks, with their popular 75601 model.
This machine also boasts a 396-tonne capacity, hosts traction motors and traction alternators from Seimens and Kato, and is designed to operate in open-pit mines and varying climatic conditions with over 3,700HP.
This machine is as versatile as it is powerful.
What Is the Purpose of a Dump Truck?
A dump truck is a haulage vehicle that moves massive volumes of loose materials such as rocks, dirt, minerals, or ores in harsh terrains.
They are crucial in the mining, construction, infrastructure (tunnels, airports, roads, and dams) sectors that transport large volumes of loose material.
Dump trucks haul bulky loads in extreme off-road conditions, rough terrains steep inclines, and wet underfoot.
They are often used in tandem with hydraulic excavators to facility a smooth and seamless loading process.
Dump trucks come in various designs and configurations, ranging from standard to supersized trucks, each optimised for different applications.
- Articulated dump trucks are large, heavy-duty haulers with high ground clearance and best suited for the mining and civil construction sectors. They have superior traction and suspension for stability on rough terrains and steep inclines. Articulated dump trucks have a carrying capacity of 10 to 40 tonnes.
- Site dumpers and front tippers are best suited for the civil and building sectors. These versatile haulers come with a 180-degrees swivel skip bin and have a carrying capacity of 1 to 10 tonne.
- Rigid rear dump trucks are only found in mining and quarrying operations and can be gargantuan. They are common in off-road mining operations that haul massive amounts of dirt and heavy materials. These are superior off-road haulers with a payload capacity of 30 to 400 tonnes. As the name suggests, rigid rear dump trucks have limited flexibility and can’t withstand extreme off-road conditions.
- Track mounted or crawler dump trucks are engineered to haul materials in terrains where rubber-tiered haulers usage is impractical. Tracks ensure even weight distribution to let the hauler transport material across rugged, steep, muddy, sandy construction sites or marine environment.
- Underground dump tracks are engineered for underground mining operations. With a payload capacity of 30 to 50 tonnes, these haulers lower the cost of moving material in underground mining operations and tunnel construction.
How Does a Dump Truck Work?
A dump truck comprises two parts – a truck chassis and a rear mounted dump bed that carries the payload. It uses a hydraulic system to raise and lower the dump bed.
From the cabin of the dump truck, an operator uses buttons or levers to operate the hydraulic system. The telescopic hydraulic arms extend in a controlled manner, gradually tilting the truck bed to empty its contents.
The telescopic cylinders extend to a pre-set level to tilt the dump box such that all its content slides out, leaving nothing behind. The dump truck driver then lowers the dump box and makes another trip without ever alighting from the truck.
Why Do They Need to Be So Big?
The dump truck must be huge to let mining and construction companies reduce operating costs and increase operational efficiency.
Open-pit mining operations and large construction sites need to haul millions of tonnes of dirt, rocks, minerals, or ores per year.
A massive dump truck enables such companies to reduce the amount of time, effort, and resources necessary to move the loose materials.
For instance, a 400-tonne dump truck has a hauling capacity of 10, 40-tonne trucks. These monster trucks increase productivity, lower the turnaround time, and ensure a low cost per tonne hauling.
Such a monster truck lets one person handle the work of ten people. It lets mining companies keep a lean crew without compromising productivity. It also lowers the firm’s payroll, fuel, and maintenance costs.
Giant dump trucks are also part of the mining and construction sectors’ effort to embrace sustainable production methods and reduce their carbon footprint.
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If you want to see why such big machines are need for mining projects, we have listed WA’s biggest gold mines.