This programme was filmed at two huge coal mines – Black Thunder at Wyoming in America, and the massive Garzweiler brown coal (lignite) mine near Cologne in Germany.
The star at the Black Thunder mine is “Ursa Major”, a Bucyrus-Erie 2570-WS walking dragline – the largest walking dragline working in North America. Keith Haddock guides us knowledgeably through the engineering and operation of this giant and shows how it fits into the mine’s work-flow. Black Thunder has some other outstanding machines at work including the Bucyrus 495 HR electric shovel and the Cat 657E scraper, both the world’s largest of their kinds.
Germany’s lignite (brown coal) deposits are suitable for extraction by the continuous mining process using bucket-wheel excavators and a complex system of conveyors. Bucket-wheel 288 used at Garzweiler by RWE Power AG truly is a monster – the world’s largest terrestrial moving machine that can extract and convey 12,500 cubic metres of lignite or overburden an hour. The programme takes a very close look at this machine and includes other aspects of the mine such as spreading, coal haulage by train and reclamation.
This 70-minute programme is number two in the Massive Machines series of DVDs.
The script is by Keith Haddock, retired mining engineer and author of many books on earthmoving equipment. The programme was filmed by Roger Wiltshire and directed by Jonathan Theobald. The programme was produced by Old Pond Publishing in 2008.