Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day 657 – Kalgoorlie, Australia

Day 657 – 27th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Got up and walked up the shops to get some milk for breakfast. Then drove into the town centre and visited the tourist information, they suggested a few tours and supplied us a map of the town. The Town is called Kalgoorlie-Boulder which was two mining towns which amalgamated. The area called the golden mile is where the super pit is so we went here first. We parked at the lookout point and they have a viewing area with lots of information about the super pit.
The Super Pit
The Super Pit
It is a huge gold mine and is mined as an open pit. The gold has to go through a complicated process to get extracted as it is not found as nuggets. The rock has to be crushed down and the gold extracted using chemicals. They get approximately 6.5g gold for every ton of rock. The vehicles they use in the super pit are massive the tyres alone are 12 feet high.
One Of The Large Mechanical Scoops
The pit is over 3km longs at present and they are constantly blasting and making it bigger. We then moved on and took a drive to Boulder which is just down the road, we had a walk along the highstreet.
Boulder High Street
Then made our way back into Kalgoorlie, here we found a lovely café and had some lunch.
Typical Style Building In Kalgoorlie
We then drove to the mining hall of fame. Here there are many things to see including many buildings set out to represent an old mining town, they have all the machinery that has been used in a mine over the years.
Me Panning For Gold

Jill At The Tourist Mine

A Mine Lift

Martin On An Old Mine Train

We had a look around for an hour or so and then went to a gold pouring demonstration. Here they have to start heating the furnace two and a half hours before the demonstration to get it hot enough to melt the gold. So he basically melted down some gold and they pour it into and ingot.
Gold Pouring Demonstration
It only takes about a minute for it to be cool enough to be taken out of the ingot and it to keep it’s shape. It is then placed into a barrel of water and left for about ten minutes and you have you ingot of gold. After the demonstration Martin and I went on a tour of one of the mines. We went down in a tiny lift which can only hold four people into the first level of the mine.
The Mine

Me Down The Mine
Here we were given a guided tour and they even showed us the machines working. The drill runs at 110 decibels and the fan at 116 decibels so no one in the mine could ever talk.
A Mine Drill
The underground mine was a slow process and they drill 14 holes and fill them with explosives, they move back 200 metres set off the explosives which takes them another 2 metres along the tunnel and then they repeat the process.
Mine Cart
The mine we were in had five levels and we were on the first, nearest the surface. They showed us an area where they found gold and had taken a slice out just the area with gold in.
The Mine Rig
After the tour we had a look around the museum but only got half way around when it closed up and we had to leave. It was worth the money and I did not think I would spend so long there. We then made our way back to the hostel via the supermarket and I cooked some food. Martin and I then went out for a beer at the Exchange Hotel and then came back and played some cards.


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