Not a Big Thing, just a big thing

Mackay is one of the hubs of Australian mining, taking millions of tonnes of coal from the coal fields a couple of hundred kms inland, and loading it onto cargo ships heading all around the Pacific Basin.

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You just don’t get the true size of the thing from this, but it was the only way to get the whole machine in shot

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Running up the centre of the boom is a normal human sized walkway, if that gives you some idea

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Bulk carrier superstructure sized – you can tell from the staircases. This baby has a direct link to the high voltage grid and is powered at voltages between 6.6 and 22Kv to power its 55 cubic metre bucket…

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Doing my bit to support Australian heavy industry…. 🙂

You’re probably familiar with pictures of the monstrous dumper trucks which transfer raw coal from the face to processing. They’re easily the size of a small suburban house. Imagine driving a house!

Now imagine driving a bulk tanker, the ship, that is. That’s the sort of size you’re steering when you’re driving a dragline. They are Absolutely Massive, but since this is their normal size, they don’t count as a Big Thing. One of them is going for a walk out at Peak Downs mine. This monstrous electrically powered beast is being trundled at a snail’s pace from one part of the mine to another. In the process, it has to cross a busy highway and an even busier coal train line.  Such is the importance of this piece of kit that they’ve closed and diverted the road and have taken up the railway line and laid a 1.5m deep dirt bed to form a road for it, to prevent it utterly destroying the highway and the railway line. We took ourselves out there on Miss Scarlett to inspect its progress. It was quite hard to get far enough away to get the whole thing in frame without making it look a bit weedy!

(Right next door is the longest and largest dragline in the Southern Hemisphere. We couldn’t get close enough, but if you’re interested, here’s the YouTube link, so you can see it in action).

So, not a Big Thing. Just very, very big.

 

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10 thoughts on “Not a Big Thing, just a big thing

  1. tialys says:

    A big thing indeed. Definitely a photo opportunity not to be missed.

  2. Miss Scarlett takes you to some intriguing places.

    • katechiconi says:

      She does, and I hope she will continue to support my continued fascination with Big and big things… We have a road trip coming up towards the end of the month, which should offer some nice photo opportunities.

  3. Grannymar says:

    I am glad I do not have to drive a yoke that size. Miss Scarlett looks like a toy model beside it.

    • katechiconi says:

      The thing’s a monster, but quite modest beside the beast in the video. It was a fun outing. I’d like to go back when they start walking it across the road and railway line!

  4. anne54 says:

    Diverting the road and taking up the railway line? That is serious! In France, they transport huge sections of the Airbus along the roads. They do that at night and have complicated traffic arrangements. Enjoy your adventures on Miss Scarlet.

    • katechiconi says:

      Luckily there are no towns and villages between its start and its destination, but the highway is the only road in that area and carries a lot of heavy traffic, and the railway line is one of the important ones for carrying the coal from the mine to the loading terminal at the sea, so it’s a really big deal. Disruption costs a lot, so this big baby is going to have to creep along at its best speed of somewhat less than 1 mile per hour…

  5. EllaDee says:

    To me mining equipment is incredibly big, and always fascinating to see. I can’t imagine driving one of those big dump trucks let alone operating the larger machinery.

    • katechiconi says:

      Exactly! And the funny thing is that a very high percentage of the dump truck drivers is women; they have a better safety and reliability record. So much for the myth that men are better drivers… Still, I wouldn’t personally want to reverse park one of those things without LOTS of practice!

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