Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pilbara Region, WA.

As we travel further North and East we are finding that we need to drive longer distances between places of interest. We were heading for the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Mine towns of Paraburdoo and Tom Price. Along the way we camped at two excellent free camps. The first at Barradale River Crossing and the second at Beasley River Crossing. Both of these Rest Areas have toilets and Dump Points. We have met some wonderful people at these stops, some we will maintain contact with.

We heard on the "traveller grapevine" that the Caravan Park at Tom Price was both expensive and had sub standard facilities. We accepted this advice and based ourselves at Paraburdoo Caravan Park. At $25 per night for a powered site including free clothes washing machines and dryers. I was also able to wash the car and caravan.

Both Tom Price and Paraburdoo are well laid out 'Mine Towns' with excellent facilities. We were told that Rio Tinto sold the town of Tom Price to Ashburton Shire for the sum of $1.

Our stop over here in the Iron Ore Mining Area was mainly geared to taking in the Tom Price Mine Tour. This was very informative and took us up close to the Haul Road with 250 tonne capacity Haul Trucks roaring by. Their V16 diesel engines do belt out a roar as they consume 20 lt of fuel per km on the steep inclines. We spent two hours on the tour, partially because there was a Mine Lockdown caused by a "May Day Call' on the radio. We were not sure of the cause but there was an interruption in the flow of Haul Truck movements. Baz, our tour guide, thought that maybe there was some mechanical failure. The incident was unsighted by us but would have occurred on a narrow section of roadway so would have blocked all movements.

The Ashburton River from the old highway bridge.

You may notice, by looking at the wet rocks and mud, that the river level has recently been a lot higher.

The old single lane bridge beside the new two lane bridge. This old bridge is 800 yards in length and 15 ft wide.

The Nanutarra Road House is located on the North side of The  Ashburton River.

The Beasley River looking upstream.

The Beasley River looking downstream.

This Mechanical Shovel was retired several years ago. We never got to see what is in use today as it was at the bottom of the Pit.

One of the continual stream of Haul Trucks.

Looking into the Pit from the Observation Point. We were told that this Mine Pit will cease operation in about five years, another Pit has been started nearby to continue operations.

The point where I am standing to take this photograph was once the same elevation as this Range.

Jude and I at the Tome Price Mine Lookout.

Ore coming from the Crusher onto a Stockpile before heading to the Washer.

This is an Ore Stacker that creates a long mound of Crushed and Washed Ore.

The Bucket Wheel Train Loader, pictured here, is actually controlled from an office in Perth.

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