Bucket-wheel excavators at Tagebau Hambach
Elsdorf / Niederzier, Germany
Bucket-wheel excavators run on tracks at the Tagebau Hambach open-pit mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, Germany. These massive machines (up to 315 feet tall and 730 feet long) continuously scoop materials from the surface in order to extract lignite. Lignite, often referred to as "brown coal", is a soft combustible sedimentary rock that is formed from naturally compressed peat and is used as a fuel for steam-electric power generation.