• Thank you for visiting HeavyEquipmentForums.com! Our objective is to provide industry professionals a place to gather to exchange questions, answers and ideas. We welcome you to register using the "Register" icon at the top of the page. We'd appreciate any help you can offer in spreading the word of our new site. The more members that join, the bigger resource for all to enjoy. Thank you!

Major shovel Fail.

crane operator

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2009
sw missouri
I heard last night that the mine has 3 500 ton cranes around shovel so I guess things are happening getting ready to lift shovel off the ground soon.

thanks for the update. Going to be fun coming up with the rigging for that, and it may have taken a while to round up the cranes.

Did they ever give a weight for the shovel without undercarriage?


Senior Member
Apr 7, 2006
I work in a mine in Northern Alberta, but my main house (the place I call home, and go to on my days off) is a little more than 20km directly north of Highland Valley. I'll try to add to some of the comments and info shared so far.

I know not much but I am wondering what it will take and how it can be jacked up again and how much shock load damage was done when the fall stopped???

Until a thorough inspection can be done when the shovel is back level, the current belief is that the shovel is a write off, and will be parted out.

Normally we did all the undercarriage work without splitting the shovel. Only time we'd split it was if it needed a center pin, swing rollers or carbody hour'd out.

I agree, unless the carbody is being swapped out, the jacking and splitting of the shovel with a walk out of the undercarriage would be for center pin replacement and roller path repairs. BI shovels are notorious for center pin problems. We have 4 of them, and they have each broken the center pins several times.

Last photo, post 18 Look FAR Left, UC. Appears was removed to REAR. WHY would they do that? Would have to be taken SIGNIFICANTLY Higher to get it out.

The design of the BI shovels is such that the bottom of the rev frame is actually the same level as the bottom of the counterweight. It wouldn't actually be any higher to walk the undercarriage out the rear than the front. An advantage of walking it out the rear is that it would be out of the way, instead of being under the boom.

The counterweights are actually plates welded to the rear of the rev frame, unlike the P&H design where the counterweights are separate cast steel pieces hung off the rear of the rev frame. To be clear, I am referring to the external counterweights, and not the internal counterweights that are steel punchings inside the rear of the rev frames on both brands of shovels.

I don't know about front shovels but I was told all the booms in the big drag lines were filled with nitrogen gas. A leak would trigger an alarm.

I don't believe the shovel booms are filled with nitrogen. At least the ones at the 2 or 3 mines I went to weren't.

I grabbed both quotes purely for context here. The booms on rope shovels are all built out of boxed plate sections. They are open to the elements through inspection ports. So no way to seal or pressurize them. I've spent too many hours gas testing the boom, and all of the other confined spaces on my shovel when it's down for maintenance to ever want to see the insides of them again. But it happens at least once a year, whether I like it or not.

1200 tons give or take.

I would actually guess the weight of the machine in the pictures would be closer to 1000 tons as it sits. The stick and bucket are off, and everything is gone below the upper roller path, so I think the weight would be a little less than estimated.

I have friends who work in shovel maintenance at Highland Valley, and as Hank R mentioned, they are currently recruiting to fill several management positions after the incident. Unofficially, the failure was due to unengineered "field modifications" of the jack system to allow it to mate up to the shovel.

I can't say more than that unfortunately. But hopefully this helps to shed some more light onto the situation.