Bucket Ladder Dredges
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1992
Bucketline dredges are machines for excavating large relatively unconsolidated or weakly consolidated materials from below water level. They are at the upper end of the capital cost range and the lower end of the operating cost range for placer mining machines and have digging capacities, typically, of from 100 cubic yards of bank measure material per operating hour for a shallow digging dredge carrying 2 cubic foot buckets to 1500 cubic yards per hour for a large deep digging dredge with 33 cubic foot buckets. Bucketline dredges used in the mining industry have their mineral processing plants mounted aboard the digging hull. Since dredges are high capital cost items, they require large ore reserves, typically at least ten years. Because of their high capital cost they are usually operated around the clock and for as many months of the year as weather conditions will permit. Typically a well run dredge operating year round would be expected to operate for 600 hours per month. Dredges operated in cold climates cannot operate when the weather freezes the dredge pond or the gravels, and dredges operating at sea cannot operate when high waves might batter the digging ladder against the bottom or upset the mineral extraction process.