Vermeer Corp. recently announced Fortescue Metals Group of East Perth, Australia, plans to purchase 14 Vermeer Terrain Leveler surface excavation machines (SEMs) to be used at Fortescue’s iron ore operations in Western Australia. Order delivery is scheduled to begin in December 2011 and additional machines will ship through September 2012.

“This order comes after significant investment in product development by Vermeer, as well as commitment by the local dealer to support the operations,” said Mark Cooper, senior director for specialty excavation with Vermeer.

According to Iowa, USA-based Vermeer, its SEMs allow mines to utilize precision surface mining, allowing producers to selectively extract mineral seams in surface mining applications. Customers also can control material sizing, producing material in a uniform configuration so minerals can be handled more efficiently than product produced by drilling and blasting. The uniform product size allows more efficient settings on secondary and tertiary crushing systems.

The company’s Terrain Leveler machines are offered in five different size/capacity ratings, starting with a 350-hp (260-kW) unit capable of digging a swatch 32 in. (81 cm) deep and 102 in. (259 cm) wide; to the largest, a 600-hp (447-kW) machine that cuts a 27-in.-deep (68.6-cm), 144-in.-wide (366-cm) path.