This morning we had booked in for a mine tour which picked us up from town and lasted for about 1 1/2 hours. We’ve done many mine tours before, some underground, some open cut, some working mines and some demonstration only. We’ve been to diamond mines, gold, bauxite, iron ore, copper etc, but we still find the whole mining process interesting. Yes there are environmental issues which we don’t necessarily always agree with, but it’s very interesting to learn about the mining industry and view these huge machines at work, as well as hearing the steps that are taken to lesson the environmental impacts. Within the Tom Price area and surrounds there are 16 mines, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Rio Tinto.The Rio Tinto mine in Tom Price is 8km wide by 15km long and is one of the worlds largest open cut mines. Here they are mining Iron Ore only as pictured above.When these trucks are fully loaded and going up a hill they are using 20 litres of diesel per 1 km! And we complain about our fuel bill! Also on a truck like what is pictured above, each tyre costs $40,000! The tour consisted of a short tour around Tom Price with some local information and history of the area before heading into the mine.
First we saw the truck workshop area before driving out into the main pit area. From here we saw the trucks and shovels working and carting their loads around.
We stopped at a lookout area, put on our helmets and safety glasses and jumped out to get some photos of the mine and watch the trucks drive past. Amazing how many of the drivers were females. Next we moved on to the processing area where they crush and split up the iron ore ready for loading onto the trains.We also learned that the trains we were driving alongside yesterday have a gross weight of 30,000 tonnes and a length of over 2km long.