We rolled into Kalgoorlie at around 10.30 pm, in the pitch-black night. I had started to have some doubts about a potential gold mine visit – what was there to see in the night?
They told us though that the mine was operated around the clock, so I hoped to get an idea of the size of the pit.
The bus first drove us through nightly Kalgoorlie, with a couple of trivial stories about the town, the local Woolworth’s, bars and brothels, but also some interesting facts about the mines.
The problem was that – at night – there was not much to see at any of the stops in town, and I would have preferred to get to the mine directly.
The SuperPit is Australia’s largest open cut gold mine. The mine produces 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) of gold per year, and employs around 550 employees directly on site.
Located off the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie, the pit is is approximately 3.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide and 570 meters deep.
At these dimensions, it is large enough to be seen from space.
In earlier times, the Super Pit consisted of independently operated underground mines, which mostly were operating at a loss, until all of them were combined in one big operation and the massive digging began.
We arrived at the edge of the pit by 11.30. Unfortunately, at night, you can not really grasp how big that hole is.
Some parts were lit up and the huge machinery was operating in the spotlight far below, but the dimensions of it remained pretty much in the dark.
Luckily, there was a stable fence, and I could position my camera on it without shaking, so I could take some long-term exposure shots of the mine, where I can see more of it that in real life.
After a quick stop there we were brought over to a mining museum, to see one of the massive trucks.
Its weight is some 100 tons when empty, and it can carry up to 200 tons of material in one go. I reached about half the height of the tyre.
It was interesting, albeit way too short. As we arrived a bit late, and had to get back to our train for its on-time departure, there was no real time to visit the museum.
All in all, impressive, but at 80$ for the visit way too expensive, at least at night. There should be a 50% discount for night visits.