Oil sands bucketwheel

Oil sands bucketwheel

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Credit: DAVID NUNUK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Oil sands bucketwheel. This massive mining device, known as a bucketwheel, was used to mine the Athabasca Oil Sands, in Alberta, Canada. It is no longer in use, and is now part of a display near the Syncrude oil processing plant. Bucketwheels are among the largest mining vehicles ever made. This bucketwheel's wheel is tens of metres in diameter, while the rest of the excavator (behind the wheel) is 140 metres long. The overall weight is 2400 tons. When operating, this bucketwheel could excavate over 7000 cubic metres of earth every hour.

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