Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine in Australia •

Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine in Australia

Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine in Australia. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine in Western Australia.

According to NASA, a lot of the iron ore found at Whaleback is hematite, which has been the primary iron ore mined in Australia since the 1960s. 

Pure hematite, which contains around 70 percent iron, can range in color from silver to reddish brown. Iron that is extracted from the minerals is commonly used for making steel. 

Overall, Australia has nearly 30 percent of the global supply of iron ore.

The image was captured on July 16, 2020 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

The Mount Whaleback deposit was discovered in 1957 by Stan Hilditch but not publicised until 1960, when the Australian Government lifted the embargo on iron ore exports it had put in place because of concerns the mineral was in short supply. The first mine to develop was the Goldsworthy mine in 1965 and a railway line, the Goldsworthy railway, as well as port facilities at Finucane Island were constructed. On 1 June 1966, the first shipment of iron ore from the Pilbara left on board of the Harvey S. Mudd.

BHP‘s operations in Newman date back to 1968, when the Mount Whaleback mine was opened, the biggest single-pit Open-pit iron ore mine in the world, developed originally by United States company Bechtel Pacific. The mine is 1.5 kilometres wide, more than five kilometres long and is scheduled to eventually reach a depth of 0.5 kilometres. A new town, Newman, was constructed, as well as a 426 kilometre railway line, the Mount Newman railway. The first train left Newman on 1 January 1969 and the first shipment of Newman ore left port on 1 April 1969 on board of the Osumi Maru. Newman remained a “closed” company town until 1981

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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