An auger machine is surface mining equipment consisting of a large, horizontal drill, generally 3 feet or more in diameter and up to about 100 feet long. It can remove coal at a rate of more than 25 tons per minute. It is used in large-scale mines, as in Wyoming.
A continuous auger machine is used for coalbeds less than 3 feet thick. Its auger has a cutting depth of about 5 feet and is about two feet in diameter. The miners use a conveyor belt to haul the coal to the surface, where it is loaded onto rail cars.