As the surface miner moves forward, a special cutting drum rotates against the direction of travel, cutting layers of material from the rock formations and crushing it in the process. The primary conveyor picks up the material in the drum housing and transports it towards the rear of the machine, where it is then accepted by the slewable and height-adjustable discharge conveyor. The discharge conveyor loads the material into trucks or dumpers or discharges it to the side of the miner. The discharge height can be adjusted to the height of the transport vehicles. The surface miner is driven via four steerable and height-adjustable track units. An automatic levelling system ensures precise adherence to the cutting depth, thus enabling even thin seams or layers to be mined selectively and with maximum accuracy.