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|Drag pick roadheaders and continuous miners have been applied in the coal mining industry for several decades, having replaced drill-blast methods as the primary means of excavating coal and coal-measures strata. The generally harder rock types associated with metalliferous mining have precluded the use of such machines in the past, however, developments in machine technology and increasing labour costs and environmental constraints suggest that there are now likely to be applications suited to the method. Metalliferous mining engineers are generally unfamiliar with the machines themselves and with the fundamental criteria controlling rock cuttability. This paper gives an introduction to the machines and the controlling factors.|