Friday, May 7, 2010

The Super Pit

Australia's largest open cut mine, the Fimiston open pit mine is often referred to as the 'Super Pit'. It is located in near the Kalgoorlie township and offers visitors a look out point to see the mine in operation. I had the opportunity to see this mine in action and it was really something else!

The gold mine, owned and operated by Barrick Gold Corporation and Newmont mining Corporation, produces around 28 tonnes of gold annually. Okay, with 28 tonnes of gold annually, no wonder some of these blue collar workers earn more than AUD$200,000 annually and buy those posh cars that I see so often. Just yesterday, on the TodayTonight show, they showed a young miner who was less than 25 years old, with his brand new car. He completed Tafe college and now worked in one of the many mines in WA. He was saying that the money was good but not everyone would like the hours put into mine work. The mine employs just over 500 people who work shift hours.

Anyway, it was the first time I had seen a open cut mine and was totally in awe of its size. Its length was about 35 rugby league fields put end to end and its width was about 1.5 km. They had these huge yellow dump trucks going down the sides of the mine until they reached the base, some 400meters deep. Then when they are filled with earth and rocks, they move ever so slowly up the winding staircase of makeshift two-lane road to the surface. The mine is so deep and so large that many say that it can be seen from space. I bet up in space it looks like a scar on someones body!

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