In an opencast mine in the north of Saudi Arabia, a Wirtgen 2500 SM surface miner equipped with a 2.5-m wide cutting drum has been mining large phosphate deposits in a highly economical process since 2012.
In addition to the primary extraction of relatively soft phosphate with an unconfined compressive strength of 25 MPa in this pit, the 2500 SM also mines the surrounding hard limestone (80 MPa) and extremely hard flint (150 MPa) in separate layers.
Higher quality, lower cost, increased security and environmentally friendly
In this project, the Wirtgen surface mining technology can demonstrate its full potential: cutting, crushing and loading the material in a single operational step is much more efficient than conventional drilling and blasting. This has a direct impact in terms of significantly lower labor, machine and operating costs. In addition, mining proceeds without any detonations and at lower dust emission levels, which increases security and eco-friendliness.
Phosphate, limestone and flint are mined selectively by the Surface Miners. The 2500 SM extracts rock and pay minerals of different hardness without any breaks in operation and precisely separates the different material layers, thus improving both the degree of purity and the quality of the end product as well as the yield quota of the deposit and facilitating the production of smaller particle sizes. In the process, the 2500 SM produces particle sizes smaller 80 mm which eliminates the need for complex primary crushing.