The problem of determining the optimum exploitation life of machinery, namely, the optimum time for machinery and equipment replacement, represents a complex and highly responsible engineering task. Taking into consideration the situation prevailing at coal pit mines in Serbia, the tasks of this rank are very complex and difficult. To make a decision on the replacement of capital equipment and machinery, such as bucket wheel excavators within the mentioned systems, implies a management task of utmost responsibility. It requires high professional and analytical knowledge as well as reliable arguments, based on a multidisciplinary professional approach. In this paper, the authors present their views on the problem of establishing the optimum exploitation life of bucket wheel excavators, offering an algorithm, based on dynamic programming, as a solution.