Mining Giants: Top 5 Biggest Excavators in the World

10 July, 2023
By Al Marwan
Mining Giants: Top 5 Biggest Excavators in the World

Towering over vast open-pit mines and quarries, the biggest excavators in the world stand as gigantic mechanical marvels. Also known as mining shovels, often weighing several hundred tons and reaching heights of multiple stories, represent the raw power of engineering mastery. With their immense size and capability, these giants play an indispensable role in the mining and quarrying industries. Equipped with mighty buckets capable of scooping up hundreds of metric tons of earth, rock, or minerals in a single pass, these excavators dramatically accelerate the extraction process, optimizing productivity and efficiency. Their unmatched strength and precision make them essential tools for large-scale operations, as they effortlessly tackle the formidable challenges posed by the extraction of valuable resources from the Earth's crust.

From digging deep trenches to unearthing massive deposits, the largest excavator equipment demonstrates their indispensability, enabling the mining and quarrying industries to meet the ever-growing global demand for minerals, metals, and construction materials. Al Marwan has prepared a list of the world’s largest excavators, showcasing the sheer magnitude and capabilities of these awe-inspiring machines.

Top 5 Biggest Excavators in the World

Scroll down for a quick breakdown of the world’s largest excavators currently in use, from big to bigger, and explore various types of excavators, each with its unique features and applications.

1. XCMG XE7000:

The large XCMG XE7000 front shovel excavator. Courtesy of XCMG Australia
Courtesy of XCMG Australia

Coming in strong from one of China’s biggest machinery manufacturers, the XCMG (Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group) XE7000 track excavator. It boasts a 672 tons operating weight, with a heavy duty bucket that can lift 120 tons a scoop, heaping around 34 cubic meters. It’s powered by two Perkins 2506D-E15TA diesel engines that amount to 3,600 horsepower (equivalent to 2,685 kW).

2. Komatsu PC8000:

The large Komatsu PC8000 crawler excavator Front Shovel. Courtesy of Komatsu Europe
Courtesy of Komatsu Europe

Next on the list is Japan’s CAT head-on competitor, Komatsu. Its PC8000 front shovel stands at 770 tons, with a heaped bucket capacity of 42 m3, which can lift upwards of 100 tons. It’s equipped with a double Komatsu SDA16V160E-3 diesel engine that fires up a stunning 4,020 horsepower into it (equivalent to 3,000 kW).

3. Liebherr R9800:

The large Liebherr R9800 Front Shovel Hydraulic Excavator. Courtesy of Liebherr
Courtesy of Liebherr

Germany’s prolific equipment manufacturer Liebherr has introduced several of the world’s largest excavators and mining shovels for the mining industry. Among which is the flagship R9800 track excavator heavy equipment. It stands tall at 800 metric tons, powered by double Cummins or Liebherr diesel engines that rev a full 3,000 kW (4,023 horsepower), with an option for an electric drive motor. It scoops mounds of earth with an extreme-duty teeth-clad bucket at a capacity of 45 cubic meters, making it lift around 150 tons a pass.

4. Hitachi EX8000:

The large Hitachi EX8000 hydraulic front shovel crawler excavator. Courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe
Courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe

The second runner-up on the list is Japan’s mining shovel maker Hitachi, with its EX8000 digger. It comes with a conventional excavator boom (backhoe) or a front shovel arm; this beast of a machine stands at a staggering 837 tons. It runs on two Cummins QSKTA60CE diesel engines, with a power output of 2,900 kW or 3,890 HP.

5. CAT 6090 FS:

The largest and biggest excavator in the world is the Caterpillar CAT 6090 FS hydraulic front shovel track crawler excavator. Courtesy of Peterson CAT
Courtesy of Peterson CAT

We’ve saved the best for last. The nuanced Caterpillar 6090 FS hydraulic front shovel- the biggest excavator in the world today. It has the huge operating weight of 1,102 metric tons, and an insatiable 55 m3 extreme-duty bucket that can lift up to 103 tons a heap. As for the powerhouse, the CAT 6090 runs on an electrifying 4,500 HP (3,360 kW) double Cummins QSK60 diesel engine, though it comes with an electrical motor option, which has the maximum starting current of 780 amps.

Now that we have explored some of the world's largest excavators, let's take a quick tour of some of our own excavators in the large-size class. These machines have been delivering exceptional performance and reliability in diverse mining and quarrying operations around the UAE and Middle East region.

6. Hitachi EX1200:

Picture of the large Hitachi EX1200 hydraulic crawler excavator at our Jebel Ali Yard in Dubai, UAE

The Hitachi EX1200 large track excavator is a 112-ton machine built to handle demanding loading and excavating tasks on quarries and mining sites. It has a 760 HP (equivalent to 567 kW) Cummins engine, and comes with a 6.8 m3 rock bucket.

7. Komatsu PC1600:

Side picture of the large Komatsu PC1600 AP-1 hydraulic track excavator on our Sharjah Industrial Area 15 yard.

Powered by a double Komatsu SAD6D140-2 diesel engine, this powerful machine has the power output of 603 kW (equivalent to 810 HP). The 160-ton Komatsu PC1600 AP-1 hydraulic crawler excavator is one of the largest machines on our fleet, and it has been used on various construction projects, such as the Khor Fakkan road building project, due to its robust build.

8. Komatsu PC2000:

The Largest Track Excavator on our used equipment fleet up for sale is the Komatsu PC2000 hydraulic crawler excavator on our JAFZA yard in Dubai, UAE

The Komatsu PC2000 is a formidable 200-ton track excavator, powered by a robust 977 HP Komatsu SAA12V140E-3 engine. Its impressive features include a 13.7 m3 rock excavating bucket, allowing for efficient and high-capacity material extraction in demanding mining and quarrying operations. Catch a glimpse of the huge excavator in action on our YouTube channel.

Indispensable for any successful mining or quarry operation, the large excavator is the one machine that keeps the money coming in. With giants like the Liebherr R9800, Komatsu PC8000, and our favorite Cat mining shovels, global equipment manufacturers are racing to offer an unblemished supply of industry-essential machinery.

FAQs related to the biggest excavators in the world

1. What is the largest machine in the world?

The largest machine in the world is the Bagger 293. It is the biggest mining machine in the world, and was previously known as the MAN TAKRAF RB293. It was first built in Germany in 1995, and weighs at a whopping 14,200 metric tons. It’s equipped with 18 buckets on a giant wheel, each bucket has a heaped capacity of 15 m3. The largest land vehicle is powered by an external power source providing upwards of 16 megawatts, and requires five people to operate it.

2. How do the jaws open on a hydraulic mining shovel?

Mining front shovels use a special kind of bucket for easy loading and unloading of materials extracted. The bucket is split in the middle, near the bottom, and it opens up when the excavator unloads its material onto a truck. This process uses high hydraulic oil pressure, and front shovels such as the Cat 6030 FS, pump 4495 psi pressure through hydraulic hoses and cylinders to get the bucket to move up and down, open and shut. It is controlled by the operator by moving the hydraulic controls in the cabin.

If you’re in the market for some big hydraulic muscle, be sure to check out our range of large track excavators for sale.