The need for sustainable technology diffusion in mining: Achieving the use of belt conveyor systems in the German hard-rock quarrying industry

Author ORCID Identifier

Alexander Hennig 0000-0001-9969-7773

Bernd G. Lottermoser 0000-0002-8385-3898


The movement of raw materials can be one of the most challenging tasks in open pit mining, with truck transportation representing the largest factor in mining costs and resulting in major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this study, the transportation methods of bulk materials within German hard-rock open pit mines were investigated. Approximately 450 quarries were studied for their production tonnage, lease areas, mined rock type as well as mining methods and processing equipment. The results demonstrate that 90% of the operations use truck-based transportation methods, with the remainder relying partly or completely on continuous conveyor-based systems. The installation of continuous conveyors compared to trucks represents a real alternative because of reduced dead load, reduced GHG emissions and in many cases even reduced costs. Thus, for in-pit haulage in quarries sustainable technology substitutions exist that are yet to be adopted by the German quarrying industry. As this study shows, in the future the diffusion of sustainable technologies requires site champions and large-scale case studies that demonstrate their successful introduction in the mining value chain.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.