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This paper presents an overview analysis and a discussion of field experience with different drive configurations used in shovel applications. The analysis includes different drive topologies, shovel duty cycles for a typical truck pass loading, and energy regeneration capabilities. Special attention is given to the interaction between the high power shovel drives and the grid: harmonics injection, reactive power requirements, and voltage regulation. This paper presents operational experiences obtained in copper mine industries. The main characteristics of the newest shovels with active front end (AFE) at the line side are also included. Finally, a critical evaluation of the different topologies is presented, showing that the shovel drive operation strongly affects the behavior of the power distribution system and that the introduction of the AFE technology produces an important performance improvement.