TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Posts Tagged ‘Darwin’

Day 24 – 11th September

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 11, 2008

Woke feeling good, still a few niggles, but heaps better. Said goodbye to G & N, this is their rig which has the Strom strapped to the back.

The Jabiru RUM tour was at 11am, get it right! So, I had a relaxing start and decided I had time to visit the local visitor centre just down the road

This has a lot of artefacts and cultural information

As well as an air conditioned movie theatre this plays DVDs of the Kakadu country. I sat down in here for a while before buying a sanger and heading to the RUM tour, this is the number plate of the bus

And this is actually what it is all about – Uranium!!!

This is one of the most controversial mines in the world, a Uranium mine right in the middle of a world heritage national park. All water collected on this mine site is kept onsite and evaporated out after storing. You can see the storage areas on the site, the yellow storage area is the old tailings area from the old mine.

That is our guide on the right, although the radiation warning signs are around, there is no actual radiation above normal background levels as it is just an ore and has not been processed.

It is quite a large open cut site

In the background is the Arnhem Land escarpment, about 2km from the mine

They have since found the ore is further over than they thought and with the price high it is worthwhile drilling to see how to expand the mine, either as a difficult job by rerouting power pylons and roads, or running an underground section.

In the mine site proper at the dispatch area, this technician is checking radiation levels on this motor to make sure it is clean before it leaves the site, mainly from build up of ore dust.

There is an abundance of water onsite, too much, just last wet they had 8 meters of rain in 4 days, none of that water is allowed to leave the site. So, they pump the water everywhere to evaporate it or into these holding dams.

A truck load of ore up from the pit

It then parks under a scanner for 30 seconds which evaluates the content and directs the driver to the correct dump spot.

Some shots of the infrastructure

And some new construction with a nice backdrop of Arnhem Land

Then the loading shed where the red drums filled with Uranium Oxide are packed into shipping containers for overseas processing.

It was a good tour, very interesting. They had their own power station onsite with some massive generators. They chew 1000l diesel every hour, they have 2 massive fuel storage tanks, each with 3 million litres and are constantly fed by trucks with four tankers from Darwin. I am sure the tour is a public relations exercise, but it works. Prior to this I had only what I hear on the news and newspapers to understand what is up here. But, no one was wearing anything but normal mine site protective gear, although they did have dosimeters, the only extra protection was dust masks as far as I could see. I feel a lot more assured that there is no harm from what is happening here and would have no personal qualms about working there. All the contaminated water is used to water the vegetation which is normal and the animals thrive up there.

Anyway, the guide and I discussed bikes at the end as he has a 1100. He gave me some good riding advice after hearing of my troubles, basically stop in the shade every hour or so and cool down as well as keep the water up. Plan on taking longer than normal, even though you travel faster, because of the extra cooling stops on the way.
I then headed back to the Bowali centre where I had some lunch and watched another DVD in the cool, before relaxing for the afternoon back at the campsite. A small pizza for dinner before I finally, after 3 days started to write some of what happened recently as I had been uninterested and my mind was hazy. A few things still are :)

I was planning a daybreak start for Katherine.

Day – 30km
Trip – 6189km
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