Future-oriented. Ambitious. Motivated.

FAM Opencast Mining Technology – Machines for Global Mining

Opencast Mining Technology

In the area of opencast mining technology, FAM offers an impressive selection of various machines and systems, such as bucket wheel excavators for extraction of mineral deposits like lignite, hard coal, overburden, marl. These raw materials can be then used for further processing, for example, in production of metals or building materials.

Our product portfolio ranges from mining equipment (excavators) to crushers and belt conveyors.


Our Portfolio

FAM Bucket wheel excavators are continuous mining machines for overburden, brown coal or hard coal, marl and other mineral resources, which can be extracted by means of specially designed buckets. Our machines are able to efficiently extract raw materials from deposits of different sizes.

In most cases, conveying equipment is integrated into the excavating system to enable the transportation of the material obtained.


The first mechanical excavation technique patented in 1827 was by means of a bucket chain excavator which was successfully used in the construction of the Suez Canal (1859-1869).

Deployment of bucket chain excavators in opencast mining at the beginning of the last century started a trend which resulted in development of even larger and more powerful equipment.

Modern compact-type bucket chain excavators are usually built similar to the compact-type bucket wheel excavators with rigid 2-crawler chassis, which are often utilized in clay and gravel pits.


FAM designed belt wagons are standalone machines built on crawlers which serve to transport and discharge the overburden or minerals.

In opencast mining these machines are very important links for continuous excavating, transporting and discharging activities especially when mining and dumping areas are spread apart over significant distances.

The belt wagons help save on overall investments and operating costs which otherwise would be substantially higher due to the need to acquire larger main equipment.


Especially in multiple seam mining, a flexible link of the conveying routes in the form of a mass distributor is a prerequisite for the optimal utilization of deposits and an efficient open pit operation.

The material obtained is fed to a mass distributor from several belt conveyors to a conveying connection point. Through shifting heads, each of the linking belt conveyors can transfer the material onto a remote discharge conveyor or connecting conveyors of spreaders for overburden dumping.

This technique enables a quality-controlled discharge of overburden and extraction of minerals.


FAM crawler-mounted conveyor bridges were specifically designed for a continuous dynamic operation to streamline the technological process of piling the ore, reclaiming leached stockpiles and creating new ore stockpiles space-efficiently and in a timely manner.

Besides their regular productive deployment in transportation of copper and nickel ores for the dynamic leach-pad systems, FAM mobile crawler-mounted conveyor bridges have been found to be perfectly suitable for a different purpose at landfills for red mud tailings which are created in the extraction of aluminum oxide from the aluminum-containing ore.


FAM spreaders mounted on crawlers are utilized in opencast mines for the last step in the continuous dumping process.

The FAM assortment includes slewable spreaders mounted on crawlers in:

  • two-piece design with a spreading part and an intermediate conveyor,
  • one-piece design with a feed bridge for conveying capacities of up to 20.000 m³/h and a direct disposal spreader with an oversized discharge boom of up to 196 m for direct tilting of the overburden


What are the distinguishing features of a modern opencast mine?

The first thought that comes to mind are enormous mass flows, flexible conveying line designs, multi-functionality of the machines and systems being operated. But is it technically possible to combine all these requirements in one compact system?

Yes, our solution with mobile in-pit crushing and conveying systems is the answer of FAM.


FAM cable reel cars secure the power supply for the mobile opencast mining equipment. Depending on the design of the conveyor frame, two types are possible:

  • Cable reel car with a rail chassis, with or without its own drive,
  • Cable reel car with a crawler chassis.


The cable reel car is frequently attached to the hopper car and supplies it as well as the feeding excavator or the belt wagon with power provided the latter does not have its own cable reel.


In opencast mining, heavy equipment sometimes has to be relocated over unpaved, uneven or soft terrain without having the inconvenience of dismantling and reassembling components such as drive and take-up stations of shiftable belt conveyors, which do not have their own drive.

Our FAM transport crawlers make it easy to relocate such equipment in one piece safe and time-efficiently.


FAM – Future-oriented. Ambitious. Motivated.

FAM Maintenance

We perform inspections, maintenance and repairs of systems and machines utilized in opencast mining, mineral processing, handling and storage all over the globe.

As a manufacturer of complex turnkey installations and machines, we enjoy years of experience and profound expertise. We are widely supported by the global maintenance network of the FAM Group.

The main tasks include recommendations on the maintenance activities, creation of maintenance documentation, preparation, execution and recording of scheduled and unplanned maintenance work, preparation of scheduled plant shutdowns, as well as ensuring the operational safety.