With 11 open-pit facilities producing over 45 million tonnes of coal annually, the Kuzbassrazrezugol (KRU) mining company isn't just the biggest company in the Russian Federation, it's the single largest coal exporter on the planet. And to empty its Bachatsky open-pit coal mine -- one of the largest such mines in the region, producing 8.7 million tonnes annually -- as efficiently as possible, KRU relies on the world's largest dump truck: the Belaz series 7560.
In the 64 years since the Bachatsky mine opened in 1949, production has steadily risen, now producing double the amount of coal annually than it did when the mine was nationalized in 1964. Of the 63 dump trucks used to transport excavated coal from the bottom of the pit to the rim of the site, four are of the Series 7560 variety and have been operating there since 2006.
The Series 7560 is an Ultra Class dump truck developed by Belarusian Autoworks. The 7560 series measures 49 feet long by 30 feet wide by 24 feet tall and weighs 260 tonnes when unladen -- the wheels alone are 8 tonnes apiece. These trucks are outfitted with either a 3500-HP, V-18 Cummings QSK-78 diesel engine capable of hauling 320 mt of coal at a time or the even larger 3800-HP MTU 20V400 diesel engine able to pull 360 mt of coal -- roughly 139 cubic meters' worth of the stuff.
Getting the coal into the dump truck is easy enough, excavators dump 45 to 60 cubic meters of coal into the back end. The Series 7560 then ports the load up and out of the mine at speeds reaching 40 MPH before offloading its haul for processing. Lifting and tilting that much coal requires a staggering 600 litres of oil pressurised to 165 atmospheres to lift the bed. With such a massive capacity -- and an equally-monumental pricetag nearing $US5.5 million -- the Series 7560 is rarely found outside of the biggest industrial-scale mining operations or occasionally chasing down smaller vehicles on country roads.