Investigations are discussed carried out by the Research and Development Center for Brown Coal in Most, Czechoslovakia into effects of climate, weather and mass of coal lumps on reliability of belt conveyors in surface mines. Dirt buildup on the driving drums reduces friction and increases belt sliding hazards. Belt wear increases. Driving drum diameter, increased by the buildup, negatively influences load distribution among the electric motors of the drive system. In extreme cases belt wear and irregular load distribution cause belt failures. Methods for buildup removal used in Czechoslovakia and methods for protection of the return side of a conveyor are described. Effects of large mass of coal lumps and ice buildup on large lumps on the risk of belt damage (cuts, punctures etc,) are discussed. Recommendations for design of coal transfer points are made. 2 refs.