Sunday, February 22, 2009

Highwall Failure

The highwall is the 'steep' side of a mining pit, the ground which has not yet been dug. In mining, the aim is to keep this wall as steep as possible, while keeping the wall stable. A failure of the highwall can be exceptionally dangerous, as seen here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Curragh Boom Drop

Update Mar '10:
More people seem to be looking at this page rather than the home page, so I thought I'd post a copy of the video here too.:

I finally got some photos of the Curragh boom accident this week, so I thought I'd post them right away, since there's a lot of interest in them.

This has probably got to be the biggest mining accident in the Bowen Basin for years. Curragh was performing a shutdown of its dragline, and decided to lower the boom using a Manitowoc crane instead of using the internal mechanisms. Something went wrong with the crane, and the boom fell from nearly its full height.

In the photos, you can see the damage to the top chord of the boom. The Manitowoc crane itself is destroyed except for the main house. You can see the remains of the front boom hanging over the remains of the rear boom. It's amazing no-one was seriously hurt. The boom itself would have to be totally written off, and rebuilt from scratch.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Flooded dragline at Ensham

I've been waiting to post these photos since I've started this blog, they are some of my favourite photos in my collection.

These are some of the most spectacular photos from the central Queensland floods of 2008.

On the 19th January, 2008 the Fairbairn dam in Emerald reached its spillway height and started to overtop. Shortly afterwards, hundreds of megalitres per minute were pouring over the spillway into the Nogoa river.

A few hours later, the levy banks around the Ensham mine broke and water started pouring into several of the pits.

Before the levees broke, Ensham tried moving the dragline out of danger onto safe ground. However, they didn't make it in time and the floodwaters started to surround the dragline.

Eventually, the pits were filled with water and the No. 1 dragline (and a couple of cranes) was completely flooded, with only the boom and the top of the house above the water line.

The Ensham pits, completely underwater:

To completely replace this dragline would be in the order of US$100 million. However, the repairs are estimated to only cost about Aus$50 million.

On the upside, I've been told that this dragline always had electrical issues. I guess a total strip-out and rebuild of the electrical system will help. :)

Stay tuned, in a few weeks I'll post some photos of the inside of the dragline, once the water has receded.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gone Fishing

Even smaller mines have accidents, they just have more scenic locations to have them in.