By surpassing 100,000 operating hours, two Hitachi EX5500-5 front shovels achieved elite status in Q4 2013 at Peru’s Yanacocha gold mine, one of the world’s biggest, according to company officials.

Yanacocha, owned by Colorado-headquartered Newmont Mining Corp., lies 4,000 m above sea level in the extreme cold of the Andes Mountains, making mine material abrasive and engines in need of close attention.

To this end, both EX5500-5 machines — predecessors to the current EX5600-6 — have been working the pits for 14 years now. “The longevity of these machines, particularly in aggressive conditions, is testament to the reliability of Hitachi excavators,” said Division Manager Craig Lamarque.  

Alongside routine maintenance, he added, swing bearings were changed every 20,000 to 40,000 hours as major components, such as the boom, arm, side frames and main frame, were changed or repaired on inspection.