Steels Used in Down the Hole Mining Equipment

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Steel has been used in mining equipment for many years due to its unique properties. Steel can be augmented in order to meet the needs of the mining industry.

Why the Mining Industry Needs Steel

Steel has typical characteristics that make them perfect for hole mining. These include high strength and resistance to fatigue. They also have a high tensile strength and, importantly, have a high wear resistance. This means that they can be used multiple times without material depreciation.

In particular, stainless steel is very useful for hole mining. This is because it is lighter, cheaper and easier to manufacture than other materials with the same strength. As seen from its name, stainless steel is corrosion resistant and is known to be easy to clean. In addition to this, it has a high durability and is the most sustainable alloy, which is a developing focus of the industry.

Application of Steel in the Mining Industry

There are a lot of different applications for steel in and around hole mining. Steel is very versatile which means that it can be used in many areas.

Steel applications include hot rolled bars, cold worked bars, hard chrome plated bars, and seamless hot rolled and cold worked tubes. It can also be used in the manufacture of top hammer and down the hole tools, drill rigs, demolition equipment, mining support equipment and screens as well as grinding media.

Outside of the direct application of steel in mining, steel can also be used around the mining camp including utensils, tables and seats, cooking equipment and sinks.

Stainless steel is specifically used for mining screens, fluidized bed boilers, pumps, heat exchangers, vessels, pipes, tanks, structural components and cathode plates. This is because it does not rust and therefore is more suitable for these applications. Due to its smooth and tough properties, stainless steel is a good choice for workbenches as well as for storage of substances without possibility of contamination.

Below are some of the specific uses of steel in mining equipment.

Rock Bolts

Rock bolts are important for hole mining as they are drilled into holes in the roofs or walls of tunnels in order to prevent movement in the rock formations and providing support for the tunnels. These steel rods are extremely versatile and can be used in any excavated projects to provide reinforcement to the structure.

Grinding Balls

When material is excavated from a mine, the mineral resources, like cement, ore etc., must be grinded in grinding mills. Grinding balls are made from a high strength steel called high carbon steel and is manufactured with proper alloying elements. These balls are put into the mills in order to grind these materials without being crushed themselves.

Support Section Profiles

In addition to rock bolts, support section profiles are used in the mine to provide reliable support for workers. These sections must meet technical standards for the material including high strength, toughness and flexibility. These sections are used to prevent the collapse of mine tunnels and are usually installed every meter.

High Strength Plates

Plates are used throughout the mining industry. Due to the heavy materials and equipment being used, high strength steel is used to improve the service time of equipment while resisting the difficult mining conditions. High strength steel is known to have a high strength and hardness in comparison to ordinary steel due to the heat treatment and low alloying of the material. This gives the steel it’s high wear resistance.


Steels are used throughout the mining industry and have been developed to have a high wear and fatigue resistance as well as a high strength. During the tough conditions of a mine, steels can perform as needed. Top hammers, DTH-tools, demolition equipment, drill rigs, mining support equipment, screens and minerals grinding, all rely on the material properties of steel.

Sources and Further Reading

  • METINVEST. (n.d.). Steel Products for the Mining Sector. Retrieved from metinvestholding
  • Ovako. (n.d.). Ovarock – Steels for Mining and Rock Drilling Applications from Ovako. Retrieved from

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