Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BHP Tour

The news still isn’t very good regarding our gearbox I think they must be back to square one trying to work out the problem. So yesterday we thought we would do the tourist bit to fill in time. We booked a tour of the BHP Iron Ore Plant and set off about 9.30am. We weren’t allowed to get off the bus and we were not allowed to video so Bill took a few stills. Now girls this probably won’t interest you as they are mainly boy’s toys but I will do my utmost to describe the pictures accurately. The first photo is of a grader, which grades the iron ore when it comes off the truck to three different particle sizes to large rocks which then go back to the crusher. All ore is sold at specific sizes for their furnaces. Photo 2 is of the grading & Crushing Plant. The next photo is what is known as spaghetti junction a network of conveyor belts taking ore from the rail carriages to the grading or crushing plant. Photo 4 is loading the ship with the iron ore. Photo 5 is a close-up of the ship being loaded. These two are at Nelson Point. Port facilities at Finucane Island (now Trent this is pronounced my way not the Qld version) and Nelson Point are currently equipped to load 4 x 160,000 tonne ships at one time. The next photo consists of a cross section of the sophisticated conveyer system that runs under the harbour, through a 1.16 klm tunnel that carries ore from Nelson Point to Finucane Island. A ship loader can load at a rate of about 10,000 tonnes an hour. On average, it takes about 30 hours to load a ship and around 800 ships are loaded each year at Port Hedland. The next photo is of a salt stockpile and the grey section is dust from a recent dust storm that occurred here last Thursday. Don’t worry only 1% of the salt is used for domestic purposes. It is mainly used in making plastics etc. Finally the last one is off a ship coming into Finucane Island to be loaded with Iron Ore. BHP Billiton Iron ore is one of the world’s premier suppliers of iron ore employing 8000 people across the Pilbara – around 18% of the regions total population. The company’s operations involve a complex integrated system of seven mines, more than 1,000km of rail and two separate port facilities. That’s it for now some of the quotes herein are taken from the brochure given to us after the trip. Hope you all have a lovely day, and think of us it was 42 degrees here yesterday and 31 degrees inside the bus with the aircon on. Talk to you soon Jan

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