Imagine a hole in the ground 3.8 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and more than 600 metres deep. And imagine it works 24/7, producing up to 24,000 kg of pure gold every year. Well there is such a hole – it’s called the Super Pit – and it’s Australia’s largest open-cut mine. In fact Coates Hire has been an integral part of its success for more than 15 years.
Located on the fringe of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, it was failed tycoon Alan Bond who came up with the Super Pit concept and got the ball rolling.
According to Geoffrey Blainey in his book The Rush That Never Ended, “He (Bond) had almost pieced together the jigsaw of leases that were in separate hands for nearly a century. It was now possible to operate a gigantic and ever-descending super pit, in which massive equipment could tear out the old underground workings and the unmined gold in between.”
Bond failed to realise his dream but the process he began came to fruition in 1989 when the entire area, formerly known as the Golden Mile and Mt Charlotte, was combined. Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd (KCGM) was formed and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, KCGM’s Super Pit is an iconic Kalgoorlie landmark with a public lookout and regular tours, making it a ‘must do’ for visitors to the famous gold mining town. It’s also a highly profitable gold mine and Coates Hire is on site, provide a vast range equipment and expertise to keep the monster mine running.
“Coates Hire is a preferred supplier to KCGM and we’ve been one for over 15 years. We’ve also had an on-site facility at the mine all of that time,” said Robert Zecca, Kalgoorlie Branch Manager.
“We’ve just signed a new two-year contact and are very happy to continue our long-term association with the company. We have a very healthy relationship with KCGM and can always sit down to discuss plans, requirements or issues, if and when they arise.
“Normally we have one staff member at the on-site store, but during shut-downs for scheduled maintenance or breakdowns we can have as many as four. All-up we have 27 staff at our Kalgoorlie branch.
“Although the mine operates 24 hours a day our on-site store is ‘only’ open 12 hours, with urgent after-hours needs covered directly from the branch via a telephone diversion. The Pit is only about five kilometres away so we can respond quickly, if needs be.
“The range of equipment out there is enormous and I’d hate to hazard a guess at an exact number, but it would be thousands if you include smaller things like impact sockets, etc. We have everything from 125 ft boom lifts to large forklifts, portable buildings, generators, pumps, compressors and so on – pretty much the full range of equipment Coates Hire offers. In fact we delivered seven new forklifts out there just recently. It’s a remarkable place and we’re proud of the work we’re doing to keep it all running. Be sure to come and take a look if you’re visiting Kalgoorlie!” Robert quipped.