If you’ve ever seen fixed plant equipment in and around a working mine or quarry, you’ll have observed the heavy gauge tools as they go about their extractive business. Ground engaging tools are kicking up dust, rugged buckets and hoppers are on the move, and you can hear crushers in the distance. Bridging these stationary equipment arrays, mobile mining and quarrying equipment is transporting the extracted ores and granite deposits.
That’s a fascinating image, but let’s take the gear away for a moment with your imagination. The quarry, a mammoth ground depression, looked like disorganised rocks and machinery at first. Now you see the carefully stripped layers and dump piles. The topography of a mining installation is also purposefully constructed, although you might need a helicopter to appreciate the true scale of this intricately configured excavation site.
Down at the excavation site’s leading edge, dragline shovels are making the first cut. They expose the extractive pathways, at which point a fleet of mobile buckets removes the overburden. Granted, that waste initially goes on a pile, but it’s then repurposed as the underpinnings of a road access network. Then, after the rigged shovels retreat, a new framework is erected. Structurally, it looks like a heavy gauge scaffolding tower, but it’s built for something heavier than a legion of at-height workers.
Long conveyor belts and screening decks angle away from the reinforced metal frame. Their latticed booms soar many metres above the ground. This is the static staging area, a zone where hoppers and steel-laced chutes send high-volume streams into long processing stages. A conveyor system drives the material, the screening decks discharge portions of that same material, and fractional piles are formed at the end of each branching process line. A closer look at the equipment on the frame exposes water lines and spray nozzles, replaceable screening media and integrated motors.
If the lattice booms and heavy framework are fixed plant, then the heavy vehicles rumbling around the erected frame are like planets orbiting around this massive stellar body. They skirt the fraction piles, load gravel, and discharge material for further processing. Next, hybrid vehicles amalgamate wheels and processing equipment. Wheeled crushers, mobile screens, adjustable conveyor sections, and other mobile plant resources accommodate this free-wheeling approach.
Fixed plant equipment is situated at the beating heart of any labouring mine or quarry, plus those mammoth bucket trucks are on hand to extend their operating lines. Still, this amalgamation process represents a viable sidestep into an all-mobile future, a place where every piece of mining and quarrying equipment is as adaptable as the management team’s approach to site logistics.