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Mining shovels, also called power shovels or front shovels, are used to excavate large quantities of soil and rock fragments in surface mining operations. These tools are characterized by their immense size; mining shovel booms regularly exceed 200 feet, and buckets can have volumes of up to 80 m3. Mining shovels are mounted on caterpillar tracks with a rotating deck. The vehicle's combustion engine, operating instruments, and counterweight are located on this deck. The bucket is attached to the end of an arm, and can be hydraulically or electrically powered. Electrically-powered shovels raise the bucket with the aid of a hoist located on the end of a boom.

 

Operation consists of the mining shovel lowering the bucket into a soil bank or rock face, raising the bucket through the material, and then retracting it. The shovel rotates the bucket away from the cut, where a release door can drop the burden into a haul truck before the process renews.

Video credit: PH Mining via YouTube