Modern engineers have devised some of the world's biggest mobile machines to help harvest the earth's mineral riches.

The gargantuan scope of the modern mining operations entails the construction and usage of machines of a commensurate, awe-inspiring scale.

The most important of these are the titanic diggers, crushers and trucks used to wrest the earth’s mineral riches from below the ground, process them into a more manageable form, and convey them to convenient transportation and dissemination points.

Here is a list of some of the world’s biggest machines in the mining industry, whose assistance is indispensable for providing us with the essential materials needed for industrialised economies to flourish.

1. The Takraf Bagger 293 Bucket-wheel Excavator

At 94.5 metres in height and 22 metres in length, and with a mass of 45,500 tons, the Bagger 293 excavator holds the Guinness World record for the biggest land vehicle.

The Bagger 293 is used at the Hambach strip mine in Germany to dig for the lignite which is used at coal-fuelled power pants, where it shifts enough material in a single day to fill 96 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The spinning wheel used to hold a set of 18 1,452 gallon buckets measures more than 20 meters in diameter.

bagger-2.jpg Courtesy of Sometimes Interesting

2. The Mesto Lokotrak LT160 Mobile Crusher

The mobile nature of the Mesto Lokotrak LT160 belies its gargantuan size. The Lokotrak measures almost 20 metres in length and nearly 3.5 metres in height, and weighs in excess of 30 tons. The machine is capable of reducing boulders measuring a cubic metre in volume into rubble, and processing 1550 tons of concrete or stone in an hour.

The tank-like treads of the Lokotrak enhances the ability of the giant vehicle to negotiate the coarse terrain of mining sites and quarries.

cone-crushers-mobile-crawler-9344-3001829.jpg Courtesy of Direct Industry

3, The Bucyrus RH400 Shovel

The RH400 stands 10 metres in height and measures 8.6 metres in width, and weighs a staggering 980 tons. It is currently being used at oil sands operations in Canada’s Alberta province, where it recently set a new production record by excavating 9,000 ton of earth in the space of an hour.

The maw of its immense shovel can hold up to 94 tons at a time, while its twin 16-cylinder engines are capable of generating 4400 horse power. The cockpit for the vehicle is so large that it contains a separate room which can be equipped with kitchen equipment, such as a fridge and microwave.

[Terex-RH400.jpg] Courtesy of Some Interesting Facts

4. Le Tourneau 2350

The Tourneau is the biggest rubber-tyred front-end loader on the planet, measuring nearly 20 metres in length and over 6 metres in height. The l 289 ton loader comes equipped with a 65 litre, 2,300 horse power diesel engine and has hydraulic lifting payload of 72 tons, which it is capable of raising to over 13 metres in the air.

LeTourneau-L-2350.jpg Image courtesy of Reality Pod.