February 7, 2014
In an opencast mine in the north of Saudi Arabia, a Wirtgen 2500 SM surface miner equipped with a 2.5-meter wide cutting drum has been mining large phosphate deposits since 2012.
In addition to the primary extraction of relatively soft phosphate with an unconfined compressive strength of 25 MPa in this pit, the surface miner also mines the surrounding hard limestone (80 MPa) and extremely hard flint (150 MPa) in separate layers.
In this project, the surface mining technology cuts, crushes, and loads the material in a single operational step, offering lower labor, machine, and operating costs than conventional drilling and blasting. In addition, mining proceeds without any detonations and at lower dust emission levels, providing security and eco-friendliness.
The surface miner selectively mines phosphate, limestone, and flint. It extracts rock and pay minerals of different hardness without any breaks in operation and precisely separates the different material layers, improving degree of purity, quality of the end product, and yield quota of the deposit while facilitating the production of smaller particle sizes.
In the process, the surface miner produces particle sizes smaller than 80 millimeters, which eliminates the need for complex primary crushing.