Saturday, 10 August 2013

Tom Price mine visit and ride to Exmouth

Tom Price is the township and the mine where Rio Tinto produce huge quantities of iron ore. Most is exported to China.
We stayed in a donga at Tom Price caravan park overnight. Accommodation in Westerm Australia costs double what it did in Queensland.
Grant kindly took unto the workers' restaurant for dinner. 
In the morning we were lucky to get seats on the mine tour bus "Crunchy' with Bas. He was very informative.  The workforce is 40:60 women:men. The wages are high $A100k + p.a. 
The trucks are enormous. The truck tyres alone are higher to the bus. The driver gets to the driver's seat via the ladders and stairs. Some mines have autonomous driverless trucks controlled remotely.
Our bus driver, Bas, gets his clearance to proceed with the tour from a control centre at Perth airport. 

There use to be a mountain here. Now it is a very large hole.

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The mining trucks are dwarfed by the scale f the operation. 40% of the personnel are women. They have a better reputation than men for caring for their vehicles.
40km of conveyors are used to shift iron ore and load it onto railway trucks.

After the mine tour we head off.
There is no petrol at Tom Price so we head to Parapardoo.
Hooray, they have petrol. We fill up the bikes, have lunch  and ride on.
Mella has turned over 10000km since we were in Queensland.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service emergency runway - on the main highway.
 Sometimes there is a smell of jasmine in the air and other times sweet clover honey. Shrubs covered in flowers dot the roadsides.
Mesas and buttes are distributed randomly in the landscape. Very arid conditions here. Rivers are dry beds.
The sun casts long shadows as we ride toward Exmouth on the west coast

We arrive at Exmouth just as the sun sets. It has been a long and interesting day. 670km.
We're in the Ningaloo World Heritage site. 
 We are ready for a rest day.

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