Explosives bring down 3,800-tonne mining ‘monster’

RWE Power, part of energy company RWE Global, has used explosives to dismantle a rather unique, 3,800-tonne mining “spreader”.

The blast flashpoint on the spreader machine (PHOTO: IMAGO/Beautiful Sports via Reuters Connect)

Originally designed and built as a lignite excavator in 1961 for the Garzweiler Opencast Mine in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the “spreader” was later adapted to operate as a mining materials stacker. 

A few years later, it was re-engineered again, to serve as a spreader at RWE’s nearby Hambach Opencast Mine.

After 42 years in ‘diverse’ operation and finally at the end of its useful working life, the 47-metre-high, 148-metre-long contraption was recently taken down via an explosive event carried out at the Hambach mining site.

RWE used 300 charges, containing a total of around 27 kg of explosives, to bring down the machine, which through all its adaptions still retained its original excavator chassis.

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