Earth-moving Equipment for Chromite Mining in Zimbabwe

Earth-moving equipment for Chromite Mining greatly assists in the process of extracting mineral ore which contains chromium. This metal is the main constituent when manufacturing stainless steel and aviation metals, all in high demand in first world countries. Chrome and chromium are not the same substances, although they are connected to each other. Chrome is the name given to chromium when it is electroplated over another metal. It often contains chromium oxide, which protects the underlying metal from corrosion. Many commercial and domestic products are finished in chrome.

Chromite and chromium mining

Chromite, and by extension chromium, is mined by both large mining companies and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe.  Processed chromium has a value of approximately 100 times more than newly-mined chromium.  This means that many of the small-scale miners have to excavate large quantities of the product to make a living from chromium mining. South Africa (42%), Kazakhstan (15%) and India (15%) are the world’s major miners of chromite, but with the help of small to mid-sized earth-moving equipment, Zimbabwean operations have created a substantial industry.

This image shows chromite mostly covered by crude crystals and crystallised chromite. It is this ore which is mined in Mtoroshanga, situated in the Makonde District, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Earth-moving Equipment in small scale mining

Small to mid-sized earth moving machines assist operators of all kinds carrying out this type of quarrying and help to speed up the mining process.  Chromium is usually mined in opencast mine pits, so these machines work on the different mining levels cutting away overburden and ore for processing. The levels formed as the rock is mined in horizontal slices are known as benches.

Komatsu’s Earth-moving Machines suitable for chromium (chrome) mining

Chromite Mining

As a starting point, the multi-functional utility WB93R-5E0 would be ideal.  The backhoe arm is an S-Shape which is designed to deliver a high breakout force for removing ore, as well as enhancing the loading ability.  The versatility supplied by the backhoe arm enables the unit to overcome obstacles.  The standard digging depth is 4 540 mm and the bucket width is 2 320 mm.

The added benefit of a front loader bucket enables the unit to move and load materials.  The maximum dump height clearance is 2 720 mm and the lifting capacity at full height is 3 900 kg.

However, once the capacity exceeds this type of general utility machine, operators should consider choosing a front-end loader (wheel loader) and excavator combination to increase production.

Komatsu PC130-8 Hydraulic Excavator- Earth-Moving Equipment forChromite Mining
PC130-8 excavator
Komatsu WA200-6 Wheel Loader -Earth-Moving Equipment for Chromite Mining
WA200-6 wheel loader

A suitable combination would be the hydraulic excavator PC130-8 and the WA200-6 wheel loader.

The PC130-8 excavator is an excellent workhorse in terms of productivity and performance. The standard digging depth is 5 520 mm and the loading height is 6 210 mm.  There is the option to add a hydraulic breaker as an attachment, which enables the miner to break rock in chromite mining to make the digging and loading process easier and faster.  When a quick hitch is installed, changing from the bucket to the hammer is done in a matter of minutes.

The WA200-6 wheel loader makes loading simple with enhanced visibility and a mono-lever control.  Clearance of maximum dump height is 2 720 mm and the bucket width is 2 550 mm.  This front-end loader has a large pillar-less cab which provides great visibility for the operator. 

Komatsu is a global leader in the supply of Japanese-engineered mining, construction, earthmoving and utility equipment in Southern Africa. The MoJo Motor Industries (MMI) Team comes with over fifty-four years of combined experience in mining, automotive and construction equipment sales and support. MMI is the official Komatsu dealer for Zimbabwe. Please direct all your pre-sales or equipment enquiries on earth-moving machinery for mining to our friendly staff.