Kalgoorlie to Norseman (10th May, 119 miles)

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In the morning, we managed to fit in a tour of the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie. I have presented some photos of the Super Pit from the Super Pit Lookout Point, but this time we were driven into the Super Pit itself. On two occassions we were allowed out of the minibus, as long as we stayed in a confined area, but the rest of the time we were safely inside. The vehicles here are enormous and extremely expensive, and even visitors can be subject to drugs tests as safety is taken very seriously.

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Each truck has a specific task so that rich and poor gold-bearing rocks are loaded into specific trucks and delivered to specific locations for processing. It is an operation which works 24 hours a day, unless it is raining too hard and there is lightening. There are systems for grading the size of the rocks, cannon balls to breaking up the rocks, and many many liquid-based processes for extracting the gold from the pulverised rocks.

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Aside from the mechanics of gold digging and processing, the amazing thing of this tour is the Super Pit itself. Its size is truly enormous and must be heaven for a geologist. The steepness of the internal slopes makes you question why it doesn’t collapse, and the photo below will show you that sometimes it does! There are movement detectors strategically placed around the Pit to detext unexpected earch movements, so the recent landslip was predicted several hours before the event, and people could be moved to safety.

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When gold mining started in Western Australia, people could simply pick up nuggets of gold from the ground beneath their feet; no digging required. Then of course people had to start mining for real and this presents a major hazard at the Super Pit which is on the site of many unchartered mines shafts. Still, they seem to know what they are doing! The remaining photos here show the Super Pit and the trucks doing their thing.

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On our return into the town of Kalgoorlie, we decided to visited the Museum of South Australia, or was it called the Gold Mine Museum? Anyway, in the basement area was a vault containing gold in various forms and photos of locals after having discovered the biggest gold nugget in the world. All this made Kalgoorlie quite a dangerous place to live in as everyone wanted what you had! Upstairs in the museum was devoted more to the early settlers and their interactions with the aborigines in the area, and out at the back were some original buildings of the time moved together to one location. This museum turned out to be more interesting than we had imaged from outside appearances.

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In the afternoon, we drove off to Norseman, arriving in the pouring rain! So we abandoned our plans to walk around the town and hoped that the rain would stop tomorrow.


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© Helen Gray 2019