Mine operators for some time now have been increasingly turning to an alternative to conventional rip-and-stack or drill-and-blast coal mining: the use of surface miners. Diverse studies and tests now show that surface miners offer considerable advantages in terms of both economic efficiency and the final product.

Wirtgen said the main advantages of surface mining technology include selective mining; avoidance of blasting; cutting, crushing and loading in a single operation; maximum exploitation of deposits; and reduced transport costs.
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