Application of mechanical excavators is one of the most commonly used excavation methods because it can bring the project more productivity, accuracy and safety. Among the mechanical excavators, roadheaders are mechanical miners which have been extensively used in tunneling, mining and civil industries. Performance prediction is an important issue for successful roadheader application and generally deals with machine selection, production rate and bit consumption. The main aim of this research is to investigate the cutting performance (instantaneous cutting rates (ICRs)) of medium-duty roadheaders by using artificial neural network (ANN) approach. There are different categories for ANNs, but based on training algorithm there are two main kinds: supervised and unsupervised. The multi-layer perceptron (MLP) and Kohonen self-organizing feature map (KSOFM) are the most widely used neural networks for supervised and unsupervised ones, respectively. For gaining this goal, a database was primarily provided from roadheaders' performance and geomechanical characteristics of rock formations in tunnels and drift galleries in Tabas coal mine, the largest and the only fully-mechanized coal mine in Iran. Then the database was analyzed in order to yield the most important factor for ICR by using relatively important factor in which Garson equation was utilized. The MLP network was trained by 3 input parameters including rock mass properties, rock quality designation (RQD), intact rock properties such as uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) and Brazilian tensile strength (BTS), and one output parameter (ICR). In order to have more validation on MLP outputs, KSOFM visualization was applied. The mean square error (MSE) and regression coefficient (R) of MLP were found to be 5.49 and 0.97, respectively. Moreover, KSOFM network has a map size of 8 × 5 and final quantization and topographic errors were 0.383 and 0.032, respectively. The results show that MLP neural networks have a strong capability to predict and evaluate the performance of medium-duty roadheaders in coal measure rocks. Furthermore, it is concluded that KSOFM neural network is an efficient way for understanding system behavior and knowledge extraction. Finally, it is indicated that UCS has more influence on ICR by applying the best trained MLP network weights in Garson equation which is also confirmed by KSOFM.